The Music Production Process explained
I have been responsible for all the programming & engineering for various bands. I also collaborated with others in writing the music, keyboards, drums and mixing.
Below I have written a few paragraphs on my speciality, so I hope this will give you some usefull background ..
Logic Audio and the Exs24 together with Wavelab are the main tools used to create the album projects. I usually start with recording a large number of interesting and unusual sounds from many sources, including live, radio, telephone and vinyl - however we avoid using pre-set library samples as we prefer to create our own trademark sound. These core instruments are then edited using Wavelab and then programmed into the Exs24 ready for our song writing sessions, avoiding the need to stop and edit samples when we are busy being writing - a kind of production line system that enables us to be really creative.
The first part of or song writing process is to decide on the overall style of the music, usually from our own ideas but sometimes from our collaborators input.
Once we have an overall structure and chord pattern for the song we lay down a basic drum track, usually played live or in a very long pattern to give an organic feel, followed by Keyboards Bass-line and Sound effects. Next is the live percussion played by our long-time percussionist and other members of the band. At this stage we usually make a rough demo mix to give to the vocalists and instrumentalists to spend time with it. As we have been working with many artists overseas we often send this demo out as an mp3 via our website, saving on the time and cost of postage. In many cases once they have recorded their contribution they then send this back to us as wav files via ftp, a really easy way of international collaboration that has enabled us to work with many diverse artists with ease.
A final bit of editing to clean up the recordings and some pre-production adjustments to the song is all that remains until the final mix.
At this stage we use the digital distortion plug-ins to add extra harmonics and fatness to the sound. Normally I treat every sound individually with it's own plug-in, the Nonlin works particularly well on almost everything . The noise gates and eq's in Logic also come in handy for cleaning up problem sounds. The Bass-line comes in for special attention with a 30hz sub-cut, compression, Nonlin and high cut.
My aim here is to try to re-create the great sound of classic 1970's recordings, I think the best there ever was despite its technical shortcomings, before it all went downhill in the 1980's with the advent of digital cleanliness.
Now, moving out of the confines of Logic we can now assign all the sound channels to our mixing desk - we prefer the warm sound of analogue mixing equipment despite digital mixers having a cleaner sound. Also, the physical layout of the controls allows us to create a live sounding mix with much 'knob twiddling' to add character. Having balanced all the drums through the Alesis 3630 and adding the AKG spring reverb we like to use simple effects like echo, reverb and flanging for all the instruments and vocal.
We make a final adjustment to all the channel levels, have the all important British tea-break and then record the mixes back into the computer. We often do many different live mix arrangements of each song - Vocal, Dub, Instrumental and Ambient Air mixes to emphasise the different sounds in the track.
The final mixes are again posted on our private website for feedback and opinions from all involved before we move on to other projects.
We are now working on a Turkish / Western fusion album which is a richer more musical sounding project with unusual harmonies and instrumentation.
- Windows XP sp2
- Logic Audio 5.5 PC
- Wavelab 5.0
VST plug-ins to download:
- Emagic Exs24 mk.2, EVP88, ES2, EDV6 ,EVB3
- Native B4 II ,Kontakt 2
- Linplug Albino
- Akai Rotator
- PC computer: AMD Athlon64 X2 4200+, Asus A8v deluxe MOBO.
- RME HDSP 9652 soundcard
- 3x Behringer ADA 8000 converters
- Soundcraft Spirit 32 mixing desk
- Rhode NT2 large diaphragm microphone
- Joe Meek VC3 pre-amp with opto-gain control
- Hafler P1500 amplifier - maybe the best ever studio amp?
- Dynaudio BM5 monitors - a very accurate, neutral sound
- TLA Ivory mastering compressor
- AKG BX5 spring reverb unit - man, I just love springzzzzzz....
- Alesis 3630 drum compressor
- Lexicon MPX200 reverb
- Ibanez digital delay line
- Cheap computer speakers for mix comparisons
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