JBRecording

Virtual Collaboration • Audio Mixing & Mastering • Voiceover

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Tips to Clean Up a Session or Project

There's nothing worse than working on a project for a long time, then taking a little break, and going back to finding out you have absolutely no idea what you were doing in the first place! That's happened to me on many occasions, so I thought I'd put this little video together showing a few suggestions that have helped me with keeping my project files on the neat and tidy side.

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A Piano or Two

Living in an apartment has its benefits, but for music production there are always a few drawbacks as well. Other than drums, the main problem I run into is that of having access to an in-tune well-kept grand piano. With technology ever-improving, the software solutions available nowadays have really been getting very impressive and quite affordable as well. I wanted to do a quick head-to-head comparison of a few piano samples that are out there. 

First, let's take a look at where we started. The below sample is using the "Steinway Grand" that comes with the standard install of Logic Pro.

Not bad for having come out in the late 90's. That patch has been available since, I believe, Logic 7 or Logic 8, but it might even be older than that. I've only been a Logic guy for the last few years. 

Next, we'll take a listen to a piano from a well-known audio plug-in and virtual instrument manufacturer, Native Instruments. They've been known for some very successful and widely-used plug-ins like Kontakt, Reaktor, and Battery, among others. They released a package of pianos a some years ago called "Akoustik Piano", and this is the sample of their "New York Grand". 

And, finally, we're going to listen to another sample but this is from a small developer called VI Labs. I'd never heard of these folks, but I was introduced to them by a friend the other day, and I'm beyond impressed. This is their "American Grand" which comes in a 3-pack with an Italian and German counterpart as well. In their documentation they reveal that it is in fact, a sample of a Steinway D. 

I greatly enjoyed the TrueKeys American, and will be using that as my go-to piano for now. There are many other options available for software pianos, the most well-known being Synthogy's Ivory which is quite fantastic. However, it comes on quite a few DVD's, so you'll be spending some time in front of your computer feeding it discs for at least an hour. Those with newer iMacs or Retina MacBook Pros will need to make sure to have an external SuperDrive for the install; doing so over Remote Disc would be just painful. 

The only processing done on these recordings was use of the Universal Audio Lexicon 224 reverb and Precision Limiter to sweeten things up. I made sure there was very minimal limiting to preserve the audio on the recordings. 

What's your favorite virtual instrument piano? Or if not piano, what's your favorite virtual instrument in general? Post a comment, I'm always interested to explore new software offerings especially those from lesser-known developers.

Thanks for reading!  

ASH: "Rush Into Love" NOW AVAILABLE!!

2 years in the making, and now it's official - the newest song from Brooklyn-based soulful singer/songwriter ASH, "Rush Into Love", has been released TODAY. You can download it directly from his website, www.mynameisash.com RIGHT NOW!  

Originally leaked on ASH's "Artist Spotlight" from a few weeks ago, the song is now ready for your immediate enjoyment.  You can check out the Artist Spotlight show here

All production work done here in-house at JBRecording. If you have material you'd like recorded and would like to sell online, contact me and I can help you make that happen! 

Buy the song here

Follow ASH on Twitter

Blast from the Past

The other day I was thinking about the first recordings I'd ever made, at least that I could remember. The first recording device I had was a little Sharp cassette recorder I got for my birthday. I used to make recordings of myself playing the piano, or accompanying my mother singing.  

My first foray into multitrack recording came in the late 90's when I got a Roland VS-840 for Christmas one year. It was an 8-track all-in-one recorder with a mixer, ZIP drive to record onto, and built-in effects. I have that capability on my iPhone today, but back then that was the bees knees. 

I made some great recordings on that thing. To this day, I can't even remember what happened to it. Or, those disks that I had recorded everything on... 

Fast forward about 18 years. Numerous moves and relocations later, I still have some boxes left over in the closets that traveled with me from apartment to apartment. As it turns out, in one box I found a whole bunch of those pesky ZIP disks.

I wondered if they were still readable... 

A quick Google search found no computer software able to read VS-formatted disks (nothing for Mac, at least.) so I figured I ought to see if just maybe I could grab an old VS-840 on eBay for not too much...and I did. 

It was so worth it. 

About $130 and a week later, we fast forward to tonight. I've just spent the last two hours reliving some of the best memories I'd had getting started in my studio life. 

I found recordings I'd thought I'd lost, that now through the miracle of new studio technology I can fix them up and share them with the people on them who may have long since forgotten about them. It's amazing to listen to past projects, to hear where you came from and then compare them to where you're at today.  Every bit of time spent in the studio is valuable experience to get you ready for the next gig. 

My little nugget of wisdom for you is this: If you don't already have one, put together a master archive of all of your past projects. Try to get anything you've recorded, no matter how insignificant or trivial. Put these all in the same place, whether it's a playlist in iTunes or a folder on your Desktop.  Visit it every now and then, update it with what you work on. It lets you learn from your experiences and reflect on things you did well, and could have done better, but more importantly it lets you relive moments from your past in which you were doing what you love: Making music.  

 

The VS-840GX from eBay...aka my "Time Machine". 

Coming in September: Some Live Broadcasts!

Two new Broadcasts have been set up for September so far and we're just past the halfway mark through the month of August! 

Coming up on Saturday the 7th, join DJ Sal  spinning the latest and greatest LIVE from George & Martha's in Morristown, NJ. That's starting at 10pm and going until 1am. You'll be able to tune in and catch the whole set live here, direct feed right from the tables. Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/207227792776522/

On Monday the 9th, Funky-Rock and Reggae musician Andrew O'Rourke will be stopping by to share some of his live recordings with us. We'll be talking about his history and hearing some of his music live in-studio as well. That goes on at 8pm. Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/617805084918042/ 

Also new to the page is the archive of all live shows. It's looking sparse at the moment, but you all can help fix that! Contact me to arrange for your very own time on JBRecording Live and get your music out there. 

 

New Mix of an Old Track

A few years ago, my band Faces East went down to Big Blue Meenie in Jersey City to record basics for our first CD. The crew at Big Blue was great, and the sessions went really well. Overdubs and initial mixing was done and the album was rushed to iTunes. A few years later, I decided to pull out the old tracks and revisit the mix of one of our tunes. For your listening enjoyment, here's the revisit of "High and Mighty", mixed and mastered by yours truly. 

More tunes to come.   Enjoy!

 -JB