Author Topic: amateur recording engineer  (Read 867 times)

Offline JayDee

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amateur recording engineer
« on: September 15, 2020, 08:34:13 AM »
Hello friends! My name is Jason. I don't have a crazy expensive audiophile listening setup, and I'm not even sure what a "buss" is, in this application. However, I have been recording, mixing and mastering music on and off for a couple decades. I've been a musician since 4th grade. I had Moog, Oberheim, Roland synths, electric guitars, a Tascam Portastudio and a Furman stereo spring reverb when I was a kid in 1982.

These days I have a home studio, and occasionally I record some professional jazz musicians. The latest venture I'm working on is to record these jazz musicians live, with a single pair or stereo microphone, in high resolution 384kHz/32-bit PCM and DSD.

In the last few days I've been collaborating on a new microphone cable for my Royer SF12 stereo ribbon mic, with a friend of mine. This friend is a Tonmeister who designs and builds professional audio and video studios, in addition to his own cables and speakers. He sells his clients audiophile gear at pro audio prices, so I'm very lucky to know him.

I'm doing a bit of a rebuild on my home studio. For the last week I've been reading a lot about AC power outlets (wall), and that brought me here. Seems like a cool place to not be ridiculed for thinking one piece of metal sounds better than another. Cheers!

Offline Nick B

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Re: amateur recording engineer
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2020, 11:21:06 AM »
Hello Jason and welcome to the forum! I think youll enjoy the exchange of ideas and opinions here. As a result of your post, I now have heard of and know the definition of a Tonmeister. If your Tonmeister friend has a website, please post the link as Id be curious to read about it.

You mentioned AC power outlets and a buss. Dave of PI Audio makes superb AC power treatment products. I own an UberBUSS device and UberPerto receptacles. Others here can attest to how excellent those products are and this link will provide a little more information.   https://piaudiogroup.com/

We also have other manufacturers of excellent products here as well.

Nick
ICEpower 1200as2 amp
Audio Hungary APR 204 preamp
Fritz Carrera 7 BE speakers
Border Patrol SEi dac
Auralic Aries Mini & Mojo Audio lps
Audio Envy cables
Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline JayDee

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Re: amateur recording engineer
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2020, 12:32:31 PM »
Hello Nick. Thanks for the welcome! My friend's name is Ken Goerres and his company is called Exakte, but he doesn't have a website. He often teams up with other manufacturers who use his cables at the CES show. If you search, you may find some reviews that included his speaker cables. Here is a great story that involved himself, Synergistic Research, a Tesla coil, and some French Horns.

https://www.synergisticresearch.com/hand-tuned-quantum-tunneled/

It's funny that you mention Dave of PI Audio, as he's one of the reasons I joined Audio Nervosa. I read that after Dave polished a Furutech FPX-Cu AC outlet, it rivaled their much more expensive GTX receptacles. I was already leaning towards the FPX-Cu before I read that. Now I want a polished one!

Ken does not particularly care for rhodium or gold plating. He does use silver plated copper wire in his designs, though. I read here that rhodium requires quite a break-in-period, so I've relayed that info to him. He's heard it all, and is skeptical of internet information, because he says you don't know that person's ears or listening system.

We're going to compare some different XLR connectors on this stereo microphone cable. We're starting with the standard pro audio Switchcraft and Neutrik, but I also ordered a pair of Vampires. Xhadow was out of stock, and I can't afford Bocchino at the moment. The Oyaide XLR with the Swarovsky rhinestone channel markers is said to sound very good too. Anyway, we're going to start by building two cables, one for him with all Neutriks, and my cable with Switchcraft A series. After that we'll swap out the Vampire XLR's on my cable and compare them. I guess I'll have to sing and play acoustic guitar into the mic, unless one of Ken's studio musician friends is around. It's a good thing I used to know a lot of Grateful Dead (and other) songs. :lol:

Offline Nick B

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Re: amateur recording engineer
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2020, 07:01:36 PM »
Hello Nick. Thanks for the welcome! My friend's name is Ken Goerres and his company is called Exakte, but he doesn't have a website. He often teams up with other manufacturers who use his cables at the CES show. If you search, you may find some reviews that included his speaker cables. Here is a great story that involved himself, Synergistic Research, a Tesla coil, and some French Horns.

https://www.synergisticresearch.com/hand-tuned-quantum-tunneled/

It's funny that you mention Dave of PI Audio, as he's one of the reasons I joined Audio Nervosa. I read that after Dave polished a Furutech FPX-Cu AC outlet, it rivaled their much more expensive GTX receptacles. I was already leaning towards the FPX-Cu before I read that. Now I want a polished one!

Ken does not particularly care for rhodium or gold plating. He does use silver plated copper wire in his designs, though. I read here that rhodium requires quite a break-in-period, so I've relayed that info to him. He's heard it all, and is skeptical of internet information, because he says you don't know that person's ears or listening system.

We're going to compare some different XLR connectors on this stereo microphone cable. We're starting with the standard pro audio Switchcraft and Neutrik, but I also ordered a pair of Vampires. Xhadow was out of stock, and I can't afford Bocchino at the moment. The Oyaide XLR with the Swarovsky rhinestone channel markers is said to sound very good too. Anyway, we're going to start by building two cables, one for him with all Neutriks, and my cable with Switchcraft A series. After that we'll swap out the Vampire XLR's on my cable and compare them. I guess I'll have to sing and play acoustic guitar into the mic, unless one of Ken's studio musician friends is around. It's a good thing I used to know a lot of Grateful Dead (and other) songs. :lol:

Hi Jason,

I did a search and your friends name and company came up quite a bit. The link you posted makes for quite interesting reading. Its amazing what knowledge, persistence, attention to detail and having an open mind can accomplish.

You mentioned rhodium and indeed it has a reputation for a very, very long break in time. ive never tried it, but some members here swear by it.

Id be curious and Im sure other members as well as to your impressions of the tests youre going to be performing. As weve discussed cabling, you might be interested to know that one of the members here, Pete G, is the owner and designer of TWL...Triode Wire Labs.

Nick

PS  I can see why you couldnt afford the Bocchinos   :shock:
ICEpower 1200as2 amp
Audio Hungary APR 204 preamp
Fritz Carrera 7 BE speakers
Border Patrol SEi dac
Auralic Aries Mini & Mojo Audio lps
Audio Envy cables
Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline JayDee

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Re: amateur recording engineer
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2020, 09:27:25 PM »
Hey Nick. I came across Triode Wire Labs recently, and almost ordered some stuff. It looks really good. There are some talented people here!

Another thing Ken told me is, he didn't like cryo treated stuff in his connector tests, either. I haven't tried any cryo treated gear yet, so I have no opinion on it. I should try things like rhodium and cryo, so I can form my own opinions.

I will post some impressions of our tests with the mic cable XLR connectors. I've never done an XLR comparison before, so it will be interesting.

Offline tmazz

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Re: amateur recording engineer
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2020, 10:18:22 PM »
Every power cord in my system is from TWL. I have heard them outperform other cables selling at multiple of their price.

His usb cable is great and I tried his speaker cables and they were every bit as good as the ones I own that I bought in 1988 and paid back then 3 time what Pete gets for his right now!

Great performance at reasonable prices.... it doesn't get any better than that.

And on top of all that, Pete's a great guy to.

Give them a try, you won't regret it.
Remember, it's all about the music........

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DigiBuss/TWL PC/MIT Cable

Offline JayDee

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Re: amateur recording engineer
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2020, 02:10:44 PM »
Hey tmazz. The Triode Wire Labs is one of the first high-end USB cables I looked at. I almost bought an XLO USB cable that's 70% off, the other day. I sent my friend Ken the link. He replied with, "I make a USB cable that has beat ones costing thousands including Kimber and an expensive Cardas. It's $80." It's used in the installation at the link below. Jon says it's beat everything he's tried it against.

https://www.nativsound.com/en/blog/inside-magic-bus-worlds-best-mobile-audio-system

Offline BobM

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Re: amateur recording engineer
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2020, 03:03:29 PM »
Hey Jason. I wish I could pick your brain about mixing and mastering.

I bought an Arturia Keylab 88 keyboard this past Christmas and I've been getting my playing chops back after almost 20 years of not toughing a piano. It came with a bunch of synth software and Ableton Live DAW. I've been composing and recording all sorts of stuff and having a blast finding sounds and learning all the software. I've also watched a few tutorials about mixing, EQ, compressors, delay, etc and recently have been looking into mastering, but I hate to admit that I've found it far easier to master using a free on-line app called Bandlab.

The best advice I found was to listen to my stuff on a bunch of platforms, headphones, desktop, car, main system, etc. I've made a ton of changes in the way I mix and what effects I use by doing this. It can be grueling but I'm learning so much and having fun doing so.

Do you have any videos that you think I should absolutely watch to gain some more knowledge? Or any tips and tricks of the trade you're willing to share?

thanks,
Bob
Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you'll have to blow your nose.

Offline JayDee

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Re: amateur recording engineer
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2020, 06:17:23 PM »
Hey Bob. That's very cool. I'm been meaning to try and get my keyboard chops back too. Ableton Live is a clip-based DAW that is most commonly used for EDM and other electronic music. Bitwig is sort of an offshoot of Ableton.

Are you using Cakewalk by Bandlab? It's actually a great program that was called Sonar for years, then Bandlab acquired it from Gibson and returned it to the original name. It's one of the few DAWs that supports 384kHz sample rate, and it's free now. It also has a great sounding audio engine. I plan to use Cakewalk for Hi Res recording and editing until I can afford Pyramix Native Pro.

As for instructional videos, there's a ton of stuff on YouTube. Dave Pensado is a good one, I forget what his show is called. I learned a lot when I was younger by reading Mix, Electronic Musician, Audio Media, Sound On Sound, and a bunch of other magazines, every month. The one you should check out nowadays is Tape Op, it's excellent.

I know a few people who own pro studios in LA, and I have worked some engineering sessions in them.. What tips and tricks do you want to know about?

Offline BobM

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Re: amateur recording engineer
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2020, 04:32:14 AM »
I was simply mixing and releasing songs, but I've now found that an overall mastering process does indeed make things sound better. My mixes, even though I had the main channel compressed, just didn't sound as loud as commercial recordings. I now mix down about 6db and then the mastering brings it up and it does indeed sound better and louder.But when I hear in a professional master that doesn't seem to come through in the algorithm based on-line mastering is the depth of the soundstage.

How do you get depth in a mix? Is it a matter of reverb or proper EQ or something like that?

Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you'll have to blow your nose.

Offline JayDee

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Re: amateur recording engineer
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2020, 08:56:17 AM »
Bob, don't worry about it, I've never been able to get my masters as loud as commercial recordings without turning them into a square wave, either. All those commercial recordings would sound better if they weren't so loud. The volume knob on a stereo is an attenuator, it's clamping down on the signal from your amplifier. Amplifier designs typically run best closer to wide open. If the recording is so loud that you have to turn your volume knob all the way down, your listening system is likely performing at it's absolute worst spec. If the level wasn't so jacked up by being tracked and mixed too hot, then slammed with a brickwall limiter in mastering, you could turn the volume knob up more and let your system breathe.

A lot of CD's are mastered so loud they're unlistenable to me. A record I loved as a kid is "The Name of This Band is Talking Heads." I was excited when they released it on CD, but when I got my copy, I was horrified by how loud it's mastered. Maybe I can find a Hi Res copy on HD Tracks or somewhere that's not ruined, or just buy the vinyl. I've been looking at this killer m2tech Joplin Mk III A/D converter. It has a built-in phono preamp with adjustable impedance, and digital EQ options with RIAA phono curves. It's the most high end vinyl-ripping converter I've even seen.

Another thing they do to get things louder in mastering is to purposely clip the A/D converter. Some of the higher end mastering converters like Prism Dream AD-2 can be clipped without totally ruining the sound. This is sometimes considered preferable to brickwall limiting. Most A/D converters just hard clip at -0dBfs and you immediately get crackling distortion.

So my first tip would be to record at conservative levels so your mix can breathe, and don't master too hot. If it looks like a square wave, it probably sounds like one too. Here's a good article.

https://www.massivemastering.com/blog/index_files/Proper_Audio_Recording_Levels.php

Offline BobM

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Re: amateur recording engineer
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2020, 07:36:28 PM »
Hey Jason, Here's a recent attempt of mine. Let me know what you think.

Bob

https://soundcloud.com/user-139631929/the-political-circus
Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you'll have to blow your nose.

Offline JayDee

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Re: amateur recording engineer
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2020, 09:52:21 AM »
Hey Jason, Here's a recent attempt of mine. Let me know what you think.

Bob

https://soundcloud.com/user-139631929/the-political-circus
Hey Bob. I love this track!!! At first I was thinking UK, but it reminds me more of mid-70's Genesis, after Peter Gabriel left. I'm impressed.

Your keyboard chops are definitely better than mine. I had two years of classical training when I was a kid. I still have most of the books I studied. I've been planning to start at the very beginning and work my way up again. I can play guitar better than keyboards now, but my guitar chops aren't what they used to be, either.