Friday, October 12, 2012

Samplitude and Sequoia Tips and tricks...stopping at position

By Tim Dolbear -

A few have asked me about a key command to return the play cursor to the original start position when stop at position is checked.

But, With “system options/playback - stop at position” checked there is no key commands to stop playback and return to the original position.

With it unchecked you have a few options. So you will want to flip the way of working if you had it checked before.

2 key commands:

Default keys:
Cntrl+Alt+ , is Section to play cursor/last stop position
Pause or Number block . is stop and goto current position

I reassigned the first one, and use the “.” in the number pad for the 2nd one still.

The num pad’s “.” Stops playback at current position.
The first on ( I reassigned to F10) after stop with the spacebar, will move the cursor to the position the cursor was at when playback stopped.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Drum mixing... pt 1, Phase!

By Tim Dolbear -

I am going to go through the steps I use for mixing Drums.  I am going to start with Phase and next time move into making the kick and bass groove and blend and on from there!

The very first thing to do when you start mixing drums is to not only check the phase but to 'pick' phase. The basics are that the close in microphones, such as the one on the snare drum, when mixed in with the over head mics may have a phase different.  Bring up the overheads first and then the snare channel. Flip the phase on the snare channel and listen. No other tracks should be playing out at this point. Flip the phase back and forth and listen to the tone of the snare.  You will want to also adjust the volume of the snare track to set it to where the most difference is heard.

I mention 'picking' phase. Reason being that sometimes out of phase may actually be the sound you want. So there is no right or wrong, just go for what sounds right. Now, mute the snare and bring up the first tom track and go through the process again to dial in the tom sound.  This process is much easier if you select a ranger over a tom fill and set playback to loop.  Once you have done this for all the tom tracks, bring up all the tracks for the kit and set the levels to a basic mix.

When listening to the entire kit, make sure you listen to how the tracks interact with each other. Example the snare maybe leaking into the tom mics and blurring the sound.  Instead of messing with the phase further, simply gate out the tom tracks, or as we do now in the DAW world, cut out the tom fills as in this picture:

This works great for rock, pop, and metal, country too, but for very delicate music, such as a light drums on a folk song, you can take it a step further.  A song with simple snare/kick/overheads, can benefit from the 2 overheads being addressed separately. In this case I simple add a free and awesome VST plugin call stereo tools  ( ) that allows you to flip the phase separately for the left and right channels.  Then while dialing in the snare, I flip the phase on the L/R overhead mics instead of the snare tracks. Also on the this kind of mix, the kick track should be check too, by flipping it's phase.

There used to be a lot of talk about sliding the tracks around to visually align the phase and timing of all the tracks to the Snare or Kick.  Basically since all the mics have the snare hits bleeding into them,  you slide forward the toms and overheads so that they are matched with the snare track visually.  They are all slightly behind of course due to time delay of the sound traveling to the mics.  I personally do not subscribe to this, but feel free to experiment.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

What? Where? Why? Signal Chains...

By Tim Dolbear -

I get asked often about the order of things, specifically during mixing, "what goes first, the compressor or EQ?"  I must say that of course there are exceptions to the rule, but generally the Compressor goes before the EQ, and specifically, you should always setup the Compressor before the EQ. So there is your what and where... but why?

Why? Simply, a compressor will change the tone and EQ curve or your audio. Compressors will operate based on the audio being feed into it, they will compress and change the levels of the frequencies present in the audio, bring louder ranges of frequencies down and bring up the other areas, the more complex the audio, the more the affect.

Take a snare drum as example, compressing it will tend to bring down the 1-2k range which hits at the start of the strike and bring up the low mids which are present in the audio after the transient...  again, a very general setting and a generalization...but the snare will warm up in tone and get fatter sounding.

Thus, placing a compressor first, setting up its dynamics and letting its do its thing to your tone, then, placing an EQ after the compressor and setting it up, dialing it in based on what is coming out of the compressor is the right workflow.

By Tim Dolbear c2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Its all about Sequoia

By Tim Dolbear -

Hey all,  Here is a video of me presenting at the NAB show at the INTEL booth back in March 2012.   Its all about Sequoia DAW, 4 point editing and Source/destination editing, along with Multisynchronous cut and Audio restorations...Not common features you will find in DAWs like Protools, this is the high end stuff! So grab a soda and a hot dog, sit back and soak it in!