IK Multimedia TASCAM Tape Collection Review and Tutorial T-RackS Plugin Suite

I’ve published a video tutorial and review for IK’s new T-RackS TASCAM Tape Collection plugin at

My notes are below:

T-RackS TASCAM Tape Collection

Officially branded, 50th anniversary.

Install process is much improved over previous years with the IK Product Manager.

Teac A-6100 MKII

2-track master tape recorder.

Serious piece of equipment.

7.5 or 15 IPS

Repro on = signal through entire tape chain

True stereo = slight variations between left/right channels

Transport – Irregular tape movements. Keep on for realism, turn off for a more digital tone.

Auto Calibration resets the Bias, Level and EQ settings together.

Bias – Frequency distortion. Overbias = warmer saturation. Underbias = high frequency boost.

Record Level: Level after the input with repro mode on.

Play Level – Level after the recorded signal but before the output.

Equalizers are shelves.

Output Level – Clean level adjustment, after the tape’s output stage.

Power = bypass button.

Resizable GUI that does not stay in place.

SM911 = BASF SM 911

It’s not a must-buy but if you like tape/saturation plugins it is certainly worth giving a spin. Pun intended.

Iron Age Audioworks LH95 Equalizer Review

This Siemens W295b inspired inductor equalizer sounds very good on a variety of sources. Its Baxandall high/low shelf filters and proportional bandwidth mid-band will help save you time while mixing. The added low and high pass filters make this more useful than the origjnal W295b and its $625 price tag is home recording studio friendly.

Watch the video below for plenty of sound samples and more information.

Access Analog with Cockos REAPER How To Tutorial

In this two part video, Adam details how to get the REAPER digital audio workstation software to work with Access Analog’s Analog Matrix.

Access Analog is a service that interfaces high end audio hardware, robotics and software. It enables music producers of every budget level to use signal processors like compressors, equalizers and tube saturation devices. Analog Matrix is the software (available in VST, AAX and Audio Units platforms) that enables users from practically anywhere on planet earth that has a stable internet connection to use over $60,000 of equipment that resides in Colorado, USA.

Audio engineers can also remotely control Nashville based Robot Lemon’s vintage equipment. The list includes Altec RS124, Chandler LTD-2 with the Sterling Mod, a Pye Limiter and eight rare Neve equalizers!

The same equipment that professional level sound engineers exclusively used is at our fingertips and as a bonus the Analog Matrix plugin allows this gear to be fully recallable and automatable.

Part 1
Part 2

TMPGEnc Smart Renderer 6 Review and Tutorial

I have produced a video review and tutorial for Pegasys’ new Smart Renderer 6 program. It allows you to edit video and audio, losslessly.



Script notes:

– Review Pegasys Smart Renderer 6 (when it comes out). 

Use cases: surveillance video, vertical video that needs to be turned wide 

and vice-versa, nature footage, fast turnarounds, someone demands/desires 

one large file instead of many, gathering sports or video games highlights 

Sound bites from press conference. Seminar highlights. Video game footage.

Movie clips

footage, saving hard drive space, saving file transfer times, daily 

vloggers would stand to benefit greatly

How to use: Don’t cut down to the frame you want to keep. The part where it 

joins

In and out points include the frames. So don’t cut on I-frames. On in 

point, cut the frame just before the I/keyframe and on outs do the frame 

just after the I-frame. Do it on the next one over though, because wherever 

the footage joins together it will be re-encoded AKA quality will be lost.

Audio quality is lossless unless you do all clips in one, unless you 

combine clips from different cameras or different audio settings on the 

same camera.

Smart rendering analysis is on the cut edit window now.

Last edited position is a time saver.

The rotation flag is awesome!

– Smart Renderer 6 New Features ( https://tmpgenc.pegasys-

inc.com/ja/product/tmsr6.html )

new features: High dynamic range and variable frame rate support.

VP9, AVI uncompressed, motion jpeg and Cineform support.

HEVC at 10-bit, 4:2:2 support.

On the audio side, Apple Lossless Audio, Opus and Vorbis in/out is now 

supported.

Up to 12-bit color video quality.

Color adjustment now works with high bit color.

Project restoration, in case of a computer crash.

Output to XAVC and MXF containers.

Output to Bluray BDAV format including disc burning. No menus though. ISO 

image output is available as well.

Official support for Windows 7 and 8.1 has been dropped. But so far it worked fine on my computer.

200 video transitions.

Audio loudness filter.

Like version 5, it supports up to 8K quality video, Sony’s XAVC S format, 

clip rescue, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, H.264 and HEVC codec support along with a few 

others. The x264, x265 video encoding libraries are once again licensed. 

Along with Fraunhofer IIS for audio.

Rotation flag changes without re-encoding is also still supported. So if 

you recorded a video horizontally but your phone or tablet thought you were 

recording vertically, you can fix that without quality loss!

The re-encoding analyzer is also a very important function. It’s now 

available on the clip editing screen.

Audiority Solidus VS8100 Review

Video with audio samples here:

Script notes are below

Unofficial Marshall ValveState 8100 emulation.

In 1991 Marshall releases their first valve state guitar amplifier.

Play samples

Clean jazz, crunchy blues to classic rock and heavy metal.

Tutorial

Review is for version 1.0 of the plugin.

Toolbar is at the top

Audiority menu

High quality on or off

Randomizer

Reset

Preset menu

Save and Remove presets

Bell = notifies of updates and Audiority news

Bottom are our global parameters.

Input gain

Next to that are the different effects, starting with a Noise Gate. For high gain settings, this is very effective at keeping noise  essentially inaudible.

An input equalizer and gain booster are next. These are both before the amplifier and are equal to stomp box effects pedals.

Amp is the default effect control that is loaded. It obviously allows you to tweak the settings on the amplifier head. I’ll go more in depth after I’m finished the overview.

Out EQ gives post amplifier and pre-speak cabinet tone control.

Cab displays the impulse response loader. Choose different speaker types and microphones.

If you right click any of the effects along the bottom including Amp and Cab, you’ll turn them off.

Double clicking controls resets them to their default position.

Finally on the far right is the output gain knob.

Noise gate demo

Amp Settings

Don’t forget: Clean/Crunch Button, 

Normal and Boost Channels

OD1 and OD2 on Boost

Contour: Scooped mids to the left and high end cut to the right. Also known as the old guy young guy knob.

The amp controls also let you adjust Reverb, which actually sounds quite good. 

Master Volume is the final knob.

After that is the cabinet button. If you have a speaker cabinet plugin that you already like, press this to bypass the one that is built into VS8100.

You can also disable the amp as well with the power button…but the reverb still works!

Cab: Resonant and air frequencies. The impulse response loader. 

Dialing in a sound from scratch:

Amp settings to default. INIT Preset
Default channel is on clean. Gain knob is all the way down.

Gain stage your input with the input gain. If you recorded properly, you can leave it at zero.

What type of tone are you going for? For high gain, change immediately to Boost channel.

Cleans 

Increase the Gain knob until you’re happy. If it’s not rock enough for you, go to your boost pedal and crank it up. Don’t forget to turn it on, it’s off by default.

Still not enough? turn the gain knob down and choose crunch mode. If it’s still not loud enough with gain cranked to 11, flip to the Boost channel and adjust gain there. Death metal settings are the OD 2 button setting.

After your gain is set, it’s time to set your tone knobs. Engineers call this equalization. But don’t start with the EQ settings! Nope…go to the Cab screen and scroll through the different speaker cabinets When you find a sound you like, go back to the Amp screen and adjust the Contour knob if you are on the Boost Channel.

If not go to the Input EQ settings.

Adjust until you’re happy and that may be enough. If not, adjust the tone knobs on the Amp screen. Remember, only adjustments on the channel that is current selected will be audible.

For the last round of tone shaping, a built in post EQ pedal or use your own favorite plugin equalizer like I do.

I don’t like that a lot of GUI was wasted on gray and black space. Even on the largest setting, a few of the controls are too small.

I do like that Luca the developer deferred to already good cabinet IR makers.

Tooltips on some controls would have been helpful.

Right click lock parameter on the in/out doesn’t work globally. Neither does speaker cab off, which would be useful when flipping around presets.

Default output is too high. And I can’t lock the output control so it stays put when flipping through parameters.


Sound quality matters the most and in that case VS8100 shines. It’s right up their in quality with the best amp modelers out there. The noise gate is very easy to use and this is overall a very versatile guitar plugin. Snatch it up while it’s at the intro sale price because you’re essentially getting three guitar amps in one plus a nice but limited reverb.

The best thing I can say about it is, it doesn’t sound like a plugin. As I was demoing I thought to myself, I CAN HEAR THE SPEAKER CABINET CLOTH! Which means, Audiority nailed the subtleties which not all plugins do.

Sounds nearly as good as DiBiQuadro Virgo on cleans, plus does high gain and crunch for a great price.

IK Multimedia Sunset Sound Studio Reverb Review

Home recording studio engineers usually have to deal with poor sounding acoustics. So, they close mic their sources and then add artificial reverb during mixing.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a variety of authentic sounding live rooms and echo chambers to use on your audio? Now you can and at a relatively affordable price with IK Multimedia’s Sunset Sound Reverb plugin.

Do the names Led Zepplein, The Doors, Prince, Janis Joplin, The Rolling Stones, Whitney Houston or Alanis Morissette sound familiar? These are just some of the famous people that have recorded at Sunset Sound. Now, you don’t have to book the studio or fly to Los Angeles, CA to get many of the sounds this classic studio has given to countless musical artists.

I really liked the variety of sounds that I was able to easily achieve with this plugin. The limited controls are a positive because it’s difficult to get something I didn’t like. The isolation booths were something unique and the fact that they emulated the microphone preamps/recording consoles is a big deal. IK really thought this one though!

Hear lots of sound samples in this RHR video:

Affordable Home Recording Studio Soundproofing on a Low Budget Cheap Solution

Isolating soundwaves from the control room and live (tracking) rooms is nearly impossible on a home studio budget. I have come up with a way that not only works but that the vast majority of audio engineers who are working with a small budget can afford.

Essentially, we’re going to combine cutting edge software to distance ourselves from the noise makers (instruments and singers). That way, we can hear only what is coming through our speakers or headphones and NOT also the direct sound from the noise makers.

Watch the following videos to find out how to do it:

Things I Learned After Recording and Mixing My First Album

I was going through my data archive and found a gem document in a folder labeled “Education”. It’s dated December 7, 2008. Enjoy.

Things I learned from the first album:

– Cut unnecessary frequencies from tracks before boosting any.
– Direct box is necessary for recording guitar direct. At the recent stage show you setup for they had it for pretty much all instruments such as keyboards, violin and acoustic guitar. The electric guitar amp was miked so when going direct one of these are very necessary.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/…/Radial-J48-MK2-48V-Phantom… This box will allow you to record direct and send a signal to a real amplifier with it’s “thru” output connector. Or use the M-Audio Fasttrack Ultra’s instrument input…although that’s not ideal. Active boxes are for instruments without battery pickups.

We also need ¼” cables. Pro Co Lifelines Instrument Cable are great.

We can easily turn the unused straight mic stands into booms by using or purchasing long goosenecks. They’re approx. $12 from Guitar Center. We’ll need one or two if we use a Shure SM57 on snare or for some other purpose.

Gordon Lightfoot
Jason Mraz

– Boost the LOUDEST frequency that an instrument has. For example when sweeping the EQs 5K sounds loud on the snare then that’s the frequency you should boost if/when necessary. But always remember that CUTTING frequencies is what EQ should be used for. And if when you boost a frequency and it sounds ugly (especially in the lower 100-280Hz range) then you should lower it to get rid of mud.

– Electric Guitar: Layering = recording tracks, different guitar/amp for a track, panning them wide.

– E Guitar micing, find the spot: Michael Wagener’s technique

Put headphones through your interface/mixer/whatever

Hook up your mic and have it so you can hear what youre doing

Hold it in your hand

Have the amp on with a guitar cable in it

Turn down the volume of the amp so you don’t blow up your
ears
Now put your thumb on the end of the guitar cable that goes to your guitar

It should start buzzing
Move your mic around the speakers (proabably a 1-4inches away) until you find the speaker’s “sweet spot.” The buzzing should sound more even and better than different spots on the speaker here. Put some scotch tape with an arrow pointing to this spot and try micing there when you record….

– Click tracks: Try using double times to get a groove. 8/8 may be easier for a guitar player than 4/4. This will allow the player to hear offbeats.

– The room matters the most followed by mic placement. With the empty basement (or TV studio) walk around and find spots that sound best to the ear. Try recording in the TV studio as well as the room with computers.

– Write down notes on everything. What settings were used, which microphones, how it was setup, the room, EQ, etc.

– Use the EQ knobs to cut frequencies when recording drum tracks. Especially for the tom drums

– Automation. You didn’t use that on any of the last album. Where there is time for instruments to “breathe” then their EQ or whatever needs to be “opened up” to fill that audio spectrum!

– Drums – Try different pillows for muffling. Put the mic up higher in the drum so that it isn’t being muffle by the pillow.

– Change the tuning of the snare. For slow songs have a looser tuning. For fast songs have it tight or maybe even use my piccolo snare.

– Get that front drum head fixed! A micing with the front head on and a small hole is what the Audix D6 was designed for.

– Use the bridge pickups of the guitar if going for a distorted sound. Heavy metal requires expensive guitars for less mud. Onto the amp: either turn your mids all the way up with you treble and bass at minimum, or turn your mids all the way down, with your bass and highs up higher.

– Doubling vocal tracks doesn’t mean hard panning them. Put the doubled track about 10 dB lower in the mix for a natural chorusing effect with the same compression/EQ settings as the lead track. The doubled track is called the harmonic track.

– Put sound absorbtion like a wall of foam OR comforter or curtain behind the musician. That will help with phase cancellation.

– Try over head micing the drums with the MXL 603s and SM81. Put an AT4040 on the hihats.

– For solo guitar + vocals take the low cut filter off the microphone. Then in mixing use a parametric notch filter for any trouble frequencies.

– Watch http://www.abbeyroadplugins.com/

– In the mixer window use the “Freeze Track” option to free up those cpu cycles

– The Shure SM7b microphone would be perfect for vocals. It is voiced exactly opposite the Rode NTK. The Rode NTK is great for deep voices which rap artists tend to have. It still should be used about 12-15 inches away (the NTK). Shure = dull and NTK = bright. Replace the NTK tube with these mullard NOS tubes for a better sound:
http://www.trademe.co.nz/…/Microphones/auction-106312946.htm

– It’s worth it to test recording vocals with the two doors open in the iso booth.

– When there are no vocals bring up another “central” instrument. Usually guitar.

– If you set up a mic with a low cut filter on don’t use the mixer’s lowcut. Conversely if there is no low cut filter or it’s switched off use the mixer’s low cut UNLESS it’s a bass instrument being recorded. Then you BETTER make sure that filter is OFF.

– A clean recording room sounds better than one with trash/gear laying all over the place

– It’s easier to do another take than to fix 50 mistakes in the mix

– For bass guitar use a stompbox compressor going into the direct in. On the last album it was difficult to hear some of the higher bass notes and that’s why.

– For acoustic guitar do the over the shoulder + 12th fret setup. If the song has a drum/bass guitar accompaniment mic more for the highs than for the mids and lows. That’s what that big acgtr micing paper said and it’s true.

– Most of the amp simulators have a “high quality” switch. Enable these only for the final mix

– If you can hear the bass guitar on the Yamaha speakers they are too loud in the mix. Turn it down until you can barely here it then one or two decibels to where you can’t. That’s where it should be.

– The snare track should have reverb

– Download and use DPC Latency Checker

– Don’t track with Amplitube. “It uses CPU cycles like a Hummer uses gas.” Use one of the other plugins instead and then switch to Amplitube later.

– There are bass amp simulators in Guitar Rig and the other amp programs besides just using the Ampeg SVX. Although Ampeg is probably all you’ll need.

(this last part is a copy and paste from https://recording.org/threads/micing-a-drum-kit-and-recording-help.32570/ )

Dear Not a Pro,

First note that there are about as many ways to mic and record a drum set as there are drummers.

I’m a drummer. I started in this business as a studio muscian and played on several recordings each with drums mic-ed a different way.

My opinion, and it’s Just that, My opinion, is that often, many people miss the basics. or at least the basics for pop or country music.

1. aim a dynamic mic at the center of the drum head, a few inches from the center. Far enough away that the drummer doesn’t beat it to death. But only an inch or so above the head.

2. try eq on the toms. Loose the mud region, subtract 150 to 300 hz, you might want to boost the lows below that. Then, boost the highs, 10 to 15K, quite a bit.

The addition of highs, with proper mic placement will help you to keep the number of mics down and give you adequate coverage of the cymbals with NO overheads. This technique is often called “over Micing”. In fact, the stereo imaging of the cymbals will be better and more accurate.

3. Mic the bass drum about 3 to 6 inches from the center at a 45 % angle.

4. Loose what you don’t need. Eq the lows out of the hi hat, it’s not needed and will keep phase cancelation down.

I’ve recorded over 200 albums, some local, some regional, and a number of nationals using this technique.

The other that have posted all have good recommendations. You’ll just need a little experience to find which works best for you.

Good luck,

Bob

Tips for Archiving Computer Data to Optical Media Blu-ray Recordable Discs

I will produce a video about this one day. But here are a few pieces of advice to get started. I have been burning to the BD-R format since the year 2010 when a 50-pack spindle cost $180.00

  1. Media brand/type matters. My preferred discs are Verbatim or if you have deep pockets the M-Disc types such as these or these. BD-XL discs with up to 100 GB are also available but even more costly…obviously.
  2. Pioneer or OWC brands for the hardware. I don’t mess with anything else.
  3. Nero Burning ROM is the software I use. For Bluray (BDMV) authoring, I will make a disc image file and then burn using Nero.
  4. Although a standard single layer BD-R can use up to 25 GB of data, I try to burn less than 21 GB. Reason being is, the outer edge can pick up fingerprints very easily. If you don’t burn data in that area, it’s not an issue.

    For DVD-R burning, I will keep it under 3.8 GB for the same reason.
  5. Keep burn speeds low. For data I use the rated speed, which in my case is 6x. For Blu-ray movie burns, I will do 4x for myself or 2x for customers.
  6. Always use Nero’s data verification option. Sure, it takes more time but I’d rather know now that a disc was a coaster and not months or years from now.
  7. Perhaps the most important step…create and keep a word processor document that lists the contents of your disc archive. Back up that document frequently.
  8. Another good idea is to take screenshots of files/folders. This does take longer than simply typing a list but thumbnails can help out a lot when trying to track a photo or video file down.
  9. Don’t use a marker or print on the disc label EXCEPT onto the inner circle. That’s why I prefer inkjet hub printable discs.
  10. Just because I am archiving to optical discs that doesn’t mean I erase the data from hard drives. I always keep two copies of critical data. So, home videos and expensive video shoots…things like that. Consider storing one copy off-site…be it online or at a family member’s house.

Finally, large capacity solid state media is becoming a possible long term archival reality for people with modest budgets. My 2005 SanDisk flash drive is still going strong. Slower write speed 256 GB thumb drives can be purchased for under $35. For the time being though, a BD-R disc at around $.70 per 21 GB is the most affordable option. I’d estimate the shelf life to be approximately 15-20 years but maybe longer.

Is Distopik’s Mix:Analog Hardware in the Cloud Rental Service Worth It?

I decided to do some accountant math on whether renting analog gear “in the cloud” makes business sense.
Mix:analog sells MATs or Mix Analog Tokens at a rate of $0.06 per token ($13.99 divided by 250 tokens = 0.05596) in their most expensive plan.
Their average rental rate is 97.5 tokens per 15 minutes or $5.461. Per hour, that’s approximately $21.82 again on average.
Their gear includes two professional level tape machines, a Fairchild 670 compressor clone, Elysia museq, Gyraf G24 compressor and a Bettermaker Limiter.

Their mastering rack is the most cost effective rental. At a cost of 120 tokens ($6.7152) you get two stereo linked Pultec EQ clones, an SSL buss compressor clone, an analog limiter and a Sontec inspired equalizer. That’s $26.86 per hour for five pieces of gear, effectively $5.37 per hour per device.
Now, let’s take a look at the cost of the brand name gear because I don’t know the real price of the clones.

An elysia museq will run you $5,299.
The Gyraf G24 costs $3,900 and the Bettermaker Mastering Limiter $2,699.00

All these devices cost 90 Mix Analog Tokens, which is about $5.40 every 15 minutes or $21.60 per hour. So let’s do the math on APPROXIMATELY (rounded up) how many hours you would need to rent before you bought this gear.

Museq: 245 hours ($5,299 / $21.60)G24: 181 hoursMastering Limiter: 125 hours

Now, this does not include the excellent Burl BAD4 and BDA8 converters.

Tack on an extra $5,400 for those plus the Mothership chassis.
The tape machines are pretty neat too. The nice thing is, you don’t have to pay for new tape nor do you have to pay or spend the time to repair/maintain them. Tape machines are a b**ch, seriously!

A Telefunken M15 runs about $2,000 + shipping and Recording the Masters tape is used. At 420 tokens per hour it’s about $25.20 to rent. That’s 79 hours before you can buy one outright and that again doesn’t include shipping, tape and maintenance costs.

An excellent condition Studer A812, if you can find one, go for around $3,000-6,000. Taking the lower figure, that’s 119 hours of use before a purchase. Studers are notorious for being difficult to maintain, so I’d rather pay $25.20 per album (give or take 15 minutes) than have the real deal. Again, this does NOT include the cost of the Burl converters nor the cool clean volume boost/cut device.

Recall/preset and sweet spot are other Mix Analog benefits that cannot be understated. If you buy a lot of tokens upfront, these costs are even cheaper.

Run a business? MATs are tax write-offs.

Rent the gear only when you NEED it. I say, Mix:analog is a solid deal. Pass on the costs to your customers…that’s what I do. Otherwise, they get an all plugins only mix or master. Simple as that. Analog mixing/mastering is something all audio engineers can offer now from the comfort of their home studio.