Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Local spots filmed by Taylor Swift and crew.

The newest video of Taylor Swift ( song titled “Mine”)was shot here, in Southern Maine, in some of my favorite spots! Taylor shot this video in Kennebunk Maine, and in KennebunkPort Maine, just to name a couple locations. I noticed the film crews some time ago, and then heard whispers about who was in town. What a good job they all did to show my haunts as pretty as they have!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

DrummerTracks Series

Song-length drum tracks from Sonic Reality!

Hey, do you want to play or practice your guitar or bass “in time”? Check out these drummer tracks from Sonic Reality.

Taken from the IK Multimedia website.......

DrummerTracks™ is a series of 10 style-based titles offering multiple song-length drum tracks performed by top studio drummers, and recorded in world class studios by sound powerhouse Sonic Reality, to be used as play along tracks for the AmpliTube range of software and mobile apps.

Distributed exclusively by IK Multimedia they offer guitarists, bassists and any other musicians a new way to play along with drum grooves. Unlike other play along grooves, DrummerTracks™ have been produced to sound exactly like classic albums of yesterday and today using the same state of the art equipment and sometimes even the original drummer and producer/engineer!

It’s like playing along to the drum tracks extracted from your favorite albums. A wide variety of styles ranging from Classic Rock to ProgRock to Blues, Jazz, Funk, Soul, Country and more are available. It’s total inspiration wherever you go. Fills and variations for verses, choruses and/or challenging jam sections happen automatically just like they would with a live drummer.

Import DrummerTracks™ into AmpliTube SpeedTrainer in Mac/PC or iPhone/iPod/iPad to play along or use then in your preferred DAW sequencer - simply hit play and start rocking! You can use it for practicing, playing, composing or just to have fun! An ideal source of inspiration with high-quality and ultra convenient sound content that can have a large variety of use in your studio computer or in your mobile devices.

Each title includes 10 or more drum tracks in 44Khz/16 bit Wave format, and over 500MB of samples, for only $29.99/€19.99 each.”

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Largest drum machine ever built!

Have you seen this? I want one, well, and a monitor that big would be cool! Forget dance as we know it, why not “dance” our own music?

Propellerhead Software created the biggest drum machine ever built (no small feat) and projected it onto a building in Stockholm. This is super cool.

Songwriters Drumpack 2 - Out Now!

Click here to see my review of Toontrack Songwriters Drumpack volume 1.

Does it ever get easier than dragging and dropping a few files and have a full, pro-played drum track to an entire song laid down in virtually a minute? For any songwriter or musician, be it the professional or the enthusiast, the answer is of course no!

After the success of the first two packs in the Songwriters Drumpack series, Songwriters Drumpack and Songwriters Fillpack, Toontrack is back with another highly useful library of complete song-structure MIDI, organized as separate songs featuring several full intros, verses, pre-choruses, choruses, bridges and fills! With its undeniable ease of use and musical diversity, Songwriters Drumpack 2 is sure to lend a helping and creativity-boosting hand to your songwriting and production.

· Played by studio drummer and Toontrack veteran Peter Fredlander (who performed on Toontrack's Monster MIDI Pack series)
· More than 450 individually played files
· Categorized in different songs
· Ballad / midtempo / uptempo / shuffle songs
· Full 4-8 bar intro / verse / pre-chorus / chorus / bridge / fill sections & variations in each song
· Different meters in swing and/or straight feel

Works with
EZdrummer®, Superior Drummer® (optimized for 1 kick, 1 snare, 2 toms, 1 floor-tom, 2 crash-cymbals, 1 ride-cymbal)

Click here to get it now!

Loopmasters loop sample packs reviewed!

If you could obtain Rex 2 (or wave, or whatever file type you work with) files of professionally played and professionally recorded loops, for only 14.99 Euros, would you go for it? Well, You can!

Loopmasters Royalty Free Samples

Loopmasters has your loops. Loopmasters carries so many genre types that it is going to be hard to write about them. The quality of the Loopmasters loops is through the roof. The huge amount of loops that come inside of a Loopmasters “Sample Pack” is just incredible. Heck, don't take my word for it, watch the video posted below!

Please dont forget to drop your own songs into an email, and enter to win some great prizes. Subscribe today, and please feel free to leave any questions or comments.

Loopmasters Royalty Free Samples

Friday, August 20, 2010

Power Tools for Pro Tools 8

Book Review

Power Tools for Pro Tools 8

The Comprehensive Guide to the New Features of Pro Tools 8!, by Rick Silva

Publisher: Hal Leonard

As taken from a generic website offering this book for sale....

Power Tools for Pro Tools 8 is the in-depth guide to Digidesign's digital-audio-workstation software, Pro Tools 8, the industry standard in recording applications. Power Tools for Pro Tools 8 includes advanced tips and tricks for using Pro Tools software (on both HD and LE-based systems) and easy-to-follow examples. Topics include MIDI and audio sequencing, editing, looping, Elastic Audio, and the entirely new graphical interface. The accompanying CD-ROM includes audio examples and features QuickTime movies to show readers techniques previously known only to experienced Pro Tools users.”

The copy that I own is a softcover with the included CD. Let me say that I treat this book as I might any other reference book. That is, I look to it almost every single day! I want to both learn as much as I can about the unique features within Pro Tools 8, and I want to learn some time saving techniques and keyboard short cuts. All of which are in this great book.

On the down side, the images are in black and white. This is only a slight bummer though, but it could be better in full color, right?

However, Rick Silva knows what he is writing about. I have read, re-read, and then performed many a step from this book. Sections that I most often visit are the “Beat Detective” and the “Identify Beat” parts. All of this sort of information is clear to understand, and easy to replicate into your material.

The included CD is very helpful indeed. Although perhaps targeting a beginner at times, it also has very good demo type lessons that I found very helpful.

Weather you are a DAW newbie or a seasoned vet of ProTools, and need only a quick reference once in awhile, I highly recommend this informative book to you. Rick Silva has done a great job taking us through the paces.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Toontrack Music has teamed up with Steven Slate to bring you premium producer presets designed by Steven Slate himself for the sample engine and core sound library of Superior Drummer® 2.0.

The presets carry Stevens highly prolific signature sound into Superior Drummer and will give Superior Drummer yet another edge.

Comes with seven (7) different presets (Basic Rock, Cranky Funky Rock, Fat Metal, Fat Rock, Lively Rock, Punchy Rock, Radio Rock), engineered and designed by Steven Slate.

Works with the core Sound Library in Superior Drummer® 2.0

Click here to check out the Steven Slate Presets

While your thinking about presets - don't forget to check out the
Allen Morgan presets for Superior Drummer 2.0 as well.

Allan's work as a producer & remix artist for top acts all around the globe have led him to develop a set of presets to take the guess work out of achieving that major label sound.

So stop what your doing, and head over to
www.toontrack.com to pick up your producer presets today!

Then, you can go back to what you were doing....

Monday, August 16, 2010

Seven New GrooveMaker® iPad Apps Now Available from the iTunes Store

New GrooveMaker for iPad packs include Club, Techno, Trance, Electro, Rock, Reggae and Reggaeton from IK Multimedia

Exactly one year after GrooveMaker for iPhone was made available on the iTunes App store, IK Multimedia is proud to announce the release of 7 more GrooveMaker style packs for the iPad. Debuted in April 2010, GrooveMaker for iPad now comprises a total of 12 style-based versions including Free, Hip Hop, House, Progressive-Tech House, D'n'B, Club, Techno, Trance, Electro, Rock, Reggae and Reggaeton covering all genres of dance music. This also means that all the packs for the iPhone are now optimized for the iPad.

GrooveMaker for iPad offers the same smart features and streamlined workflow as the iPhone/iPod version for making music with loops and also takes advantage of the new larger multi-touch surface to provide enhanced operation with an integrated, advanced controller.

Users will find a convenient mixer-like environment with large slider controls for volume, pan and master volume of the 8 controllable loop tracks, plus instant access to tempo, solo and mute functions all on the same screen. Also, GrooveMaker for iPad adds even more control when working with loops, providing a new level of creative flexibility. Users can now switch "snapped" grooves with a single touch, plus control the number of loops that are automatically combined during a random mix. GrooveMaker for iPad is the perfect addition to a DJ set, providing unlimited creative flexibility in live remixing and DJ applications.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Winner number three....


The winner of the third monthly Home Recording Weekly blogs songwriting contest is Colton Williams. The song is titled “Back to Ohio”, and what a song it is.

Colton Williams will be receiving his own copy of IK Multimedias' Amplitube 3 software as a prize! Amplitube 3 is a powerful collection of vintage-to-modern bass and guitar amps, pedals, cabs, and rack devices, to name a few features, plus so much more. Check out this Amplitube 3 video from IK Multimedia. You can learn more about Amplitube 3 at IK Multimedias site by following the links provided for you.

Colton Williams is an 18 year old recording artist from Cincinnati, Ohio. He has been working on an upcoming release called "Back To Ohio" with a single of the same name. You can listen to "Back To Ohio" and many others at http://coltonwilliams.com/ , http://myspace.com/coltonwilliamsmusic , http://purevolume.com/coltonwilliams

Congratulations to Colton Williams for his song “Back to Ohio” ! A job well done for sure.

This next (fourth) months contest will be giving away a copy of Toontrack EZ Drummer! This is not a misprint, one more copy of Toontrack EZ Drummer is up for grabs! Good luck to you all! Make sure to re-read the rules before entering.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Samples to loops in Reason Recycle and Pro Tools 8.

I had decided to do the usual songwriting routine, only this time do it a little bit different.

Drawing inspiration from (and then developing songs from) guitar licks and/or piano parts is my norm. Recently, I decided to “draw up” a new song idea from a new well; well “so to speak”.

I thought that I might “film” each step of this process for you, but once I got started I had trouble just pausing long enough to use the restroom. I had gotten myself into “create mode”, and I was not coming out for anything. What I will be posting, however, are examples of my recent journey, just so that if anyone is interested in following along, on a like adventure, you can follow along with me. Your tips are always welcome.

The "Raw loop" in Pro Tools 8.

To begin, I pulled out some old records that I have been purchasing from second hand shops. I dusted off the decades worth of dust and then put them on the ole' turn table. In no time at all I had dropped quite a few interesting loops into Pro Tools, and then the “editing down” began. I choose two loops in particular, just because they were disco. Hey, disco is just cool in its' own fun way. These two loops that I chose are very similar. As a matter of a fact they are from the same song, but one has a more defined guitar part in it.

Next in line, I needed to chop the loops up, and figure out what sort of “time” and tempo they were in. This is done just so that adding midi instruments (or other parts on top of the loops) can be done “in tempo”; which is a lot easier to do. Writing midi is easy when you can “write” the notes, to the music, or while in time. Other “perhaps live” instruments need not worry about the time/tempo so much, but with midi I do.

So to find the tempo information, I first copied and pasted it until I had four bars of it playing out in Pro Tools. Next, I high lit (selected) the four bars and expanded the view larger so that I could “tighten them up” to the exact start and stop points. While the bars were high lit, I used the “Identify Time” option, found under “Events” in the Pro Tools menu. This gave me the actual tempo for the loop.

Finding the tempo of the loop with "Identify Beat" command in Pro Tools.

Now that I had the tempo I could proceed to the next step. This next step could have gone in several different directions. From this point I could save the loop as a “wave” file, making sure to write down the tempo, open up a new Pro Tools file (set to this new found tempo) and then open up the newly created “wave” file into it. Then I thought “I could play around with this loop even more while inside in Reason 4”. Yep, I wanted to open the loop (as a midi file) with the Dr.Rex loop player, in Reason 4. So, I first had to turn the loop into a “Rex” file. I opened up the loop in Reason Recycle, and began to work out the midi slices.

Reason Recycle for adding slices for the midi, for Reason 4.

Reason Recycle allows us to place markers on the exact place that we wish a new midi event to be. This sounds hard, but it is not hard at all. Listen to your loop and imagine where you might want the smaller parts to live on a midi keyboard. Doing this allows us to play each beat or sub beat on a midi pad or keyboard. So, I placed the markers where I wanted them (known as “slicing”), and then I entered the tempo in, and then saved all of this information into one easy-to-open and use “Rex” file. “Rex” files store slice information as well as midi information.

Of course I named, and then saved the original Pro Tools file that housed the original “loops”. I would want to keep this as a back up, just in case. Then I closed the original “loop” file, and then opened up a new song file in Pro Tools. This was done to both start fresh with just one loop in a song, and so that I could enter the new tempo in Pro Tools for my new loop. Lastly, I created some new stereo tracks, and inserted Reason 4 onto all of them as a plug in.

All of the midi instruments in Reason 4, just for this loop.

Next, I opted to open up Reason 4 and then created a DR.Rex Rex file player. I opened up the newly created “Rex” file within the Dr.Rex, and then proceed to play around some more. You see, the DR.Rex player allows us to move parts of the loop (known as “slices”) around to wherever we want them to be. We can completely re-arrange a loops' slices with ease while in Reason 4, and then we can even change their individual panning, volume, and pitch while working with the DR.Rex.

With Reason 4 comes the ability to do a million different things to our slices. For example we can add all sorts of crazy effects like delays and reverb, add some EQ, add compression, or even destruct our slices all together with distortion. We live in a great time in history my friends.

Dr.Rex and the midi rex file in the sequencer.

The Redrum and the sequenced drum midi.

Before I go any further, let me inject some ideas for you all. When it comes to spicing up a loop, I suggest several different approaches. First of all, I like to simply drop samples on top of the loops. I suggest quality samples or great quality loops for this. Let me take you over to LoopMasters for this step. There are many great things about Loopmasters; but three stand out. First on the list is quality, second is the amount of genres available to choose from, and third are the low, low prices. No matter what system type you use, software you own, or DAW you are dropping into, Loopmasters has your high quality samples and loops.

If you like to use Reason 4 for your midi sampling then you might want to also keep returning to Propellerheads site to see what Refill packs are available. Propellerheads Refill packs are no joke either, as the quality is up there where it should be.

If it is drums only that you are interested in spicing up, then make no mistake, Toontrack is where you need to look for samples and midi loops. Toontrack has all sorts of drum kits, from lots of popular times in history, and the loops are played by seasoned pros. Toontrack software just makes dropping beats simple and professional sounding.

Yes, I work with these three companies, somewhat, but they are the best at what they do. You want the best in your music, right? There is only one way to get the best, and that is by using the best.

So, what started out as a loop taken from an old disco record is now a “Rex” file living in a 21st century DAW.

I moved the slices of this “Rex” file all over the place, with the help of the Dr.Rex, within Reason 4, and then I went on to change some of the slices pitches and volumes until they all sounded just as I wanted them to sound. I went ahead and added some effects to some slices, just to sweeten up the loop as a whole. Then I copied and pasted this single “Rex” file, with all of the effects, into a longer loop which formed into a verse part, and next into a chorus part. Things were moving along nicely.

Since we can do so much while inside of Reason 4, I decided to sweeten up the old loop even more. Adding some “audio lip stick” was the name of the game, being very careful to not add too much of anything in particular. I did not want to make the loop sound too modern. I put some bass over the old bass parts just to bring them up to the front a little. The bass samples came from a Combinator patch that I love. I added some “boom”, via a Redrum”, to the kick drum from the loop, and some crisp snare samples were added where the vinyls' snare had degraded over the years. Now I felt ready to take this pig to the market, so to speak.

Next in the song making list was to bounce all of my Reason 4 midi tracks into Pro tools. I choose to do this for more than one “reason”, with no pun intended. First of all, I like to free up as much hard disc space as I can. Converting the Reason 4 midi data into audio data does this since I could now close Reason 4 all together, and run just Pro Tools. Secondly, all of the sounds are now in one place, or on just one screen. I should say that I like to compress and “add balls” to my bass tracks after they get bounced into Pro Tools, since that is where my plug inns for this are. Lastly, I just plain seem to work better in Pro Tools.

Just so that we are all on the same page, I like to make sure that each midi instrument in Reason 4 gets its' own track in Pro Tools. This makes for easier editing and effect placement, and easier mixing down at the end of a session.

All of the Reason midi is bounced to seperate tracks in Pro Tools.

Like I stated, once in Pro Tools I like to doctor up my Reason 4 bass tracks. I do this by running them through the Digi compressor/limiter, and then running that through IK Multimedia's Ampeg SVX bass amp plug in. I like to work my compression in Pro Tools just because I can “see” what is happening to the audio as it smashes it. Ampeg SVX adds that low end, and that “amp and cab sound” that I just adore.

That is all that I have done to get my creative juices flowing.
Here is a re-cap....

Step one... is to take a loop from an any old vinyl album and simply “sample it” into Pro Tools.
Step two...I then found the tempo of this loop with Pro Tools' “Identify beat” tool.

Step three...
I went on to save the loop as a Wave file, saved the Pro Tools song file and then closed the song file.

Step four...I opened this Wave file with Reason Recycle, and placed slice indicators where I wanted new midi slices to be.

Step five...
After making the slices I saved the loop (with the slices) as a Rex file. Rex files work with Reason 4, and all sorts of data is contained inside a Rex file. This makes opening it up with the Dr.Rex in Reason 4 a snap.

Step six...
I opened up a new Pro Tools file, set the tempo where it needed to be, and created some stereo tracks.

Step seven...
Placing Reason 4 on the stereo tracks, as an insert, was next step. After Reason 4 was running, I opened up an Dr.REx and opened up the Rex file.

Step eight...I moved stuff around endlessly, sweetened up the loop with more midi triggered samples, and then bounced each midi track to its' own track inside the new Pro Tools song file.

Step nine...Add compression and effects (like Ampeg SVX , by IK Multimedia) to any and/or all of the desired tracks.

Thanks for stopping by the Home Recording Weekly blog! Your input is always helpful, so feel free to leave your coments behind for others! Feel free to subscribe today, and get your songs entered for this months songwriting contest!