Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Is the most important gear that we have telling us lies?

The most important gear that we all have are our ears. Maybe they don't lie to us, but they will misrepresent the truth. The longer we listen to a particular mix, the worse our ears will distort the truth. What does this mean? Well here is an example, and what we can do to achieve better mixes.

First, as we start to mix a song, we listen very close to certain tracks, perhaps one or two at a time. As we bring in other tracks, we tend to not "hear" the former tracks as much. Often times things will start to come together, in our minds, when they are not together at all. Sometimes, when we spend a great deal of time on a mix, and then bounce it down for listening in another system, we stand in shock as it just sounds bad. How can this be?

 Well, it is our ears playing tricks on us. The good news is that this very thing happens to all of us, so you are not alone. The great news is that we can help our mixes get better and better by simply doing a few different things as we mix.

First of all, with the passing of time, we will learn our monitors and headphones. Every system adds to or takes away from certain frequencies. We should pay attention to the mix, as we play it back in our DAW's and as we play it back on other systems. What is different? What is missing, and what is too much, in frequencies, and volume too? Learning what our monitors and headphones take away, or add too, a mix is very important. This comes with time.

Next, as much as you love to spend great lengths of time mixing, take more breaks. I can't list the number of times that after taking a quick break, I have heard a glaring issue that I had missed before the break! We create an environment, an illusion, as we sit in our mixing environment, and things just sound different in the rest of the world. So, get up from time to time, stretch your legs, and rest your ears.

Next, as much as I had heard this next idea, over and over, it wasn't until recently that I implemented it into my mixing routine. Because of this next idea, massive changes have come to see the light of day. Bring a reference track into your mix! This is as simple as importing a song, that you know forward and backwards, and of the same genre as the song that you are mixing, onto a stereo track, in your mix. I like to bring in a song that is off a CD, and it has been mastered as well. Solo the reference track, and listen to the EQ, the loudness of the bass and drums, and "re-set your ears". Then, listen to your mix.

 Wow, now your mix sounds completely different! What a way to bring your mix to the next level. This step alone will save you so much time and hassle, and you will soon forget all of those trips out to the car and back just to check the mixes that you are constantly mixing again and again. Believe me, my mistakes are here to save you time and frustration! Take advantage of this stuff, please!

Lastly, mixing at a loud volume will cause you a lot of trouble. There is a famous rule, called the Fletcher-Munson Curve, that deals with this very issue. The issue is that the louder a mix, the more "volume" is applied to certain frequencies. So, the louder a mix, the louder the bass, let's say. So, you turn down the bass to make up for it, and then you make a bounce. When you listen to the bounce elsewhere, the bass is gone. Turn down your mixes, and listen critically.

These are not my ideas. I have not done the studies that prove all of this stuff. I like to listen to people that know more than I do, and learn from them. One person that has recently said most of this stuff is Graham Cochrane, from "The Simply Recording Podcast", and on the pages of "The Recording Revolution" website. He does the podcast with Joe Gilder, and his website, "Home Studio Corner", is packed with great information too.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

JamUp Jam Plug and JamUp App from Positive Grid.

Playing and practicing the guitar has never been as easy as it is with the technology that exists. We can use any IOS device (IPhone, IPad, IPOD Touch) to get amazing tones now, thanks to products like the JamUp plug (19.99 U.S), JamUp Lite (free), and JamUp Pro (9.99), all of which are from Positive Grid.

 This technology just makes one want to forget those things that we used to use when practicing, uuuummmmmm, oh yea, guitar amps and effect pedals. I love the freedom that practicing on the couch brings me, and there is a lot to be said about the whole "noiseless factor" while headphones are in use. I know my wife likes that part of the equation anyway With a back injury too boot, I don't mind lifting my IPhone from place to place, about the house, where my amps......., well, not so much.

This is a review of the JamUp plug, JamUp Pro app on the IPhone. Let me just say that if you must choose one app and one adaptor for your guitar, let the JamUp plug and JamUp Pro be the ones! I am giving this little package the "both thumbs way up" seal of approval! I am really taken back by the tones that are coming out of this app! JamUp Pro rocks! Don't miss read this, the JamUp Lite rocks too, and it is free!

If you do not see the video, below, please head over to to watch. Some subscribers may not see it as email.

The JamUp plug  is elegant and yet simple in design, but the real star here is the JamUp Pro app, due to the solid workings of the app, the amazing tones from the amp models and effects, and the extremely low latency. So many apps of this type suffer from latency issues. This is just not the case with the JamUp Lite and the JamUp Pro versions of the app. In fact, I can't detect it at all, even though I know it must exist, since a chip is in use.

The JamUp plug works with a lot of the other guitar apps out there, (Apogee JAM, Alesis IO Dock, Line 6 Mobile In, Griffin Technology StudioConnect, IK Multimedia iRig, Peavey AmpKit Link, PocketLabWorks iRiffPort) but why not stick with the folks from Positive Grid, and use it with JamUp Lite or JamUp Pro? After all, they should work hand in hand, right?

I just love it when companies go the extra yard, and put some thought into a products packaging design. The JamUp plug comes in a very cool tri-fold package with graphics on all available real estate, and a nice black felt holder for the JamUp plug itself. Positive Grid gets extra props from me due to the fact that they didn't just toss the JamUp plug in a vacuum formed plastic bubble. I know that this will not make the product function any better, but you just get the feeling that Positive Grid is proud of there JamUp plug. The extra touches are not lost with me.

As taken from the Positive Grid, website......

"JamUp™ Lite is a Multi-Effect Guitar App for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Powered by the newly developed multi-stage modeling engine, JamUp™ Lite provides authentic tone, sound-on-sound phrase sampler and incredible jamming experience.

It supports up to 5 simultaneous amps and effects through an easy drag and drop signal path, which also allows easy arrangement for pre and post effect position. There’s no digging through menus, no learning process and no hassles.

JamUp is born with great “play alone” capabilities. The phrase sampler can capture loops and riffs and create sound-on-sound overdubs. It’s the easiest way to create a one-person-band sound in minutes. And with the time stretching iTunes player, users can not only play alone with any track from their iTunes library, but also can create a loop and slow it down for further study."

I have taken a name from the contest, and declared a winner for the JamUp Jam Plug, and I have made contact with them. Congrats, and thanks to everyone that had entered! I love it when people "like" the blogs' FaceBook page. I check out everyone that "Likes" me there. Please help me grow, and let others know that I am online, and on FaceBook. Share any post that you feel is worthy!

Make sure to subscribe to the Home Recording Weekly blog, by simply putting your email in the box, over on the top and the right of this page. Make sure you "like" me on FaceBook, just so that I can "see" who you are! I thank everyone that has found me thus far, and it has been very cool "meeting all of you". We are building a small army of audio nuts, one "like" at a time!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Free JamUp plug

Would you like to have a free JamUp plug?

I am giving one away, in efforts to help promote the demo/review post and video that I will be putting up very soon. Click here to learn more about the JamUp plug, the JamUp apps, and Positive Grid.

No strings attached, but here are the hoops that you must jump thru in order to win it...........

 Find the Home Recording Weekly blog page, over on FaceBook, and "like" me, if you have not done so already. Next, head over to the JamUp FaceBook page, and "like" that too. On the day that the video goes live, right here on The Home Recording Weekly blog, I will pull one of those names out of a hat. I will then post the winner on FaceBook, just to let you know that you are the winner, and you will have to drop me a line. Do not worry about postage, because "its all good". You can download the JamUp lite app, which is free, to rock out anytime and anyplace!.

Just trying to make someone's day a little bit better, that's all! Good luck to all.