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Everything posted by Fray

  1. It blows my mind how many different guitars are out there... Keyboards are so few by comparison
  2. Ah my bad. I was thinking of keyboard combo amps I guess, which generally do have a line out because they have a builtin mixer. So yeah, you want a DI box or the thing Snapple linked to.
  3. You're probably getting pretty cruddy sound quality by doing that. You're much better off plugging the guitar into your amp, then plugging the line out of the amp into your audiophile. Either that or run the guitar through a DI box, which lowers the impedance. I think you probably are being hurt by impedance issues -- guitars generally have high impedance outputs, and I don't think line-level inputs are designed to handle that properly.
  4. Yes, to an extent. Better compressors and limiters are better at jacking the volume up more transparently -- for example, the latest version of Sonar has a plugin called Boost11 Peak Limiter that's designed specifically for that purpose. You just set how much gain you want and it figures everything else out for you by analyzing the incoming waveform. Much easier than trying to accomplish the same thing with the comp/limiters that came with previous versions. I imagine there are far more expensive plugins and hardware that do the same thing even better. The other thing to consider is the intent of the plugin itself. Some of them (Blockfish for example) deliberately color the sound. Great for fattening up drums, not great for pushing up the volume of a track without coloring the sound. Usually the more transparent ones will tout themselves as "mastering" plugins, although in some cases I'm sure there's more marketing to that than reality. I don't know much about the plugins that come with other software, but if you suspect they might be holding you back, you can sometimes get trial versions of the more professional plugins. Give them a spin and see if they make your job easier. Your mixes usually sound pretty good, sir
  5. If your mix sounds perfectly clean before mastering it, why are you doing anything to it at all? If all you're trying to do is make the mix louder, EQ can help if you're cutting down on busy frequencies (bass ones especially), because that will allow you to turn the whole mix up without clipping. But that's totally dependent on the mix itself. EQ (even more so than other effects) is very situational -- like zircon said there really aren't any settings you can always apply to make any mix sound better. If you're trying for louder without clipping, compressors and limiters are other tools to reach for.
  6. Past a certain age (different for different people, but usually around 40s) your ability to hear higher frequencies drops off substantially. There was a news story a year or so ago about a convenience store owner using this to his advantage to chase off loitering teenagers -- he put on a loud high freq. noise on the speakers. We tested it out at work one time -- my 55-year-old coworker couldn't believe I could hear it (and be driven crazy by it) from halfway across the building. He still plays it sometimes to piss me off
  7. I'd even go a step further and say that hobbyists and small project studios are perhaps the most important market for a lot of music software makers. Up until recently I think most pro studios used ProTools, Digital Performer, and things like that -- they were stabler and offered exclusive access to some very high end hardware. I think FLStudio is very much directed at the casual user, even if it is powerful enough for some serious use. I also doubt Sonar would include so many bundled plugins if they were really directed at pro users -- those guys are going to use more high end VST's. You just summed up the Nicholestien experience I personally find him charming.
  8. No, it's not. It's the replacement: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Express_card
  9. You're on the right track comparing your stuff to pro mixes -- it's not as good as getting real monitors, but you can at least partially get around the limitations of your setup by learning how a good, portable mix sounds on your particular system. If commercial music (a lot of which is actually pretty fatiguing anyway) doesn't hurt your ears on your speakers, neither should your own mix. So umm... let's hear your mix already
  10. So is there anything fundamentally different between a guitar amp and a mic preamp? Or are they pretty much the same circuit?
  11. I kinda imagine the sound quality on your library wouldn't be very good if you did that
  12. I'd say Musician's Friend is a decent yardstick, but they have it for the same price TBH it's not worth saving an extra $10 to deal with SUPERMUSICBUYS.BIZ type places, which, even if they aren't a direct ripoff operation, are more likely to screw up the shipping, send you the wrong stuff, etc..
  13. Do not bother with Creative stuff for recording purposes. They're gaming/listening soundcards that are only decent (at best) for recording, no matter what they tout themselves to be. Unless you're really wanting it for gaming purposes too, get a dedicated audio interface -- you'll get better recording quality for whatever you decide to spend. Honestly the stuff I've read lately seems to indicate that the USB 2.0 stuff isn't bad at all. I.e. the latency and jitter are only slightly worse than what you get from PCI or firewire devices. I don't have any firsthand experience with them though. But yeah I too would go with firewire if you've got the port for it. Express card is really going to limit your options too much, imo.
  14. According to the tests outlined in "Mastering Audio: The Art and Science" (really good book btw!), the only improvement you ever really get from going above 44.1kHz is that it's easier for the A/D converter to prevent aliasing without coloring the sound. Basically if you have any input with a frequency more than half of your sampling rate, you'll get this raunchy-sounding aliasing effect. Even very good human ears can't hear higher than 20kHz, so with 44.1kHz you should be fine, right? Well, the trick is designing an analog filter that cuts out enough of the frequencies over 22.1kHz without changing the signal beneath 20kHz in the audible range. Going up to 96kHz gives the filter more room to prevent aliasing without messing up audible frequencies. Even at 44.1kHz though, the coloration is going to be pretty subtle -- most people cannot even hear it, and it's definitely not what's causing your listener fatigue. Like Audix said, chances are your mix has too much in the midrange (anywhere from say 500Hz to 6kHz). Here's what you can do: 1. Fire up your EQ on the whole mix, or just the track giving you problems. Leave it flat to start out with. 2. Set the Q on one band to 1.0, and set its gain to something fairly high like 12dB. You want to be able to hear the change from the EQ very clearly, but if your mix starts to distort you may need to turn it down or just lower the mix volume temporarily. 3. Play your track while slowly changing the frequency of the band. You want to find the frequency where the "heaviness" you described is the strongest. 4. See if you can narrow it down a bit by increasing the Q. This way you'll change the tone less. 5. Now drop that band down to -6dB or so an see if that fixes the problem. Also, you may just be using too many effects. When you overdo it on those, you can end up with all kinds of problems, listener fatigue included. See if you can cut out the effects that aren't really necessary to getting the sound you want. Admittedly I find these problems pretty difficult to deal with, so if someone comes along with better advice, feel free to ignore mine
  15. You'll have to deal with the usual stability vs. latency tradeoff of course.
  16. I think it's for two reasons: 1. Anonymity of the internet, which is enough to turn many otherwise decent people into raging shitheads. 2. The fact that when you steal software, you aren't directly taking something from someone, because software can be copied for free. If you stole a Jaguar on the other hand, whoever you took it from would be out one Jaguar as a direct result of your actions. Software piracy does hurt sales and consequently the paying users, but it's in a more roundabout way. I think the extra layer of abstraction makes it easier for people to silence their consciences. I'll admit I did, in a few instances, use pirated software while I was in high school and college -- generally copies of friends or families' otherwise legit versions. I've kept legit ever since I got a real job, and I'm glad I have.
  17. Yes, equal temperment is the one most commonly today for the piano. Some synthesizers will let you use other temperments. Well-tempered, for example (as in the well-tempered clavier) actually sounds better if you're playing in a key like C, F, or G. But it sounds nasty and out of tune if you try to play in B. I'm sure some of the software pianos out there offer this feature. It can be cool to play with if you're interested in this kind of thing. I didn't quite understand what you're asking in the second paragraph... but no, I wouldn't say knowing this stuff is really that important to helping you make music.
  18. Nicholstein, you might want to read about all the different temperments... See the way we tune instruments in modern music is to make all the notes equally spaced apart. This system isn't perfect at all, it's just the most flexible in terms of being able to play in any key. For example, for a minor third to really sound best, the top note should actually be a little bit flatter than it is on a typical piano or guitar tuning. People who play instruments with more flexible pitch (wind instruments, violins, etc.) actually do adjust for this, if they know what they're doing. Point is, you may have happened upon a tuning that worked particularly well for the chord you were playing. Tell him to use pitch bends
  19. Yeah from what I understand, unless you're using Sonar, most DAWs don't take particularly good of advantage of more than 2 processors.
  20. Are the celebrity guitarist models ever really worth it? I don't know anything about guitars in general, it just seems like something I'd be leary of.
  21. Pedaling is also pretty important. Are you doing any of that?
  22. I think you guys are being too hard on Wiesty I believe he's thinking more about the EQ you'd apply to fix problems with live recordings -- there's usually less of it when dealing with VST's. Then you also EQ to make things sit in a mix better, which you still have to do with VST's, because it's relative to what else you have in the mix. Moseph already said the first thing that came to my mind when I read the first post: you're probably overdoing it. EQ is best applied in small doses unless you're trying to produce a deliberately wacky effect -- 6 dB of boost is a lot unless you're working with a really narrow band (high Q). I read a good observation in an interview (cannot remember who with -- some famous producer): one of the potential problems with software plugins (compared to their older analog equivalents) is that they let you go absolutely ballistic on certain settings. To a beginner, a 20 dB boost on an EQ band might seem like a "moderate" setting because the slider goes from 0-50, but it's not. 20 dB is an insane amount of boost. It's not a problem if you just use your ears, but when you're starting out you don't necessarily know what you're listening for...
  23. No you cannot. Audio interface outputs are line level -- they're not powerful enough to drive speakers. PC speakers and active monitors have their own builtin amplifiers, which is why they can accept a line level input. Speakers that take speaker wire only are passive, meaning you'll need a separate amplifier. The upshot to this is that you can get higher quality amplifiers and speakers when you buy them separately (and oh but will you pay). I'm guessing you're going to use this setup for listening, not for mixing? Just asking, because super awesome home audio speakers are not at all good for mixing -- they color the sound intentionally for the best listening experience. Studio monitors are deliberately flat and try to reveal problems in the mix. Point being, if you're doing music production, even mediocre monitors are going to be better than a $10,000 home theater system. As for what kind of amp to get, I have no idea. That kind of stuff is way out of my price range
  24. Well damn, if no one else is going to help I think this article does a pretty good job of explaining it all: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/Jan03/articles/impedanceworkshop.asp So yeah the way most gear is designed now, you don't really have to give impedance any thought. The only time it usually gets mentioned is for headphones.
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