Using The Appegiator Function in Pro Tools Vacuum Synth

As of version 8 of Pro Tools (current version is Pro Tools 10), there is an analog synthesizer plugin called Vacuum added to the other virtual instruments in the software.  Wink Sound does a regular "how to" video series on You Tube, and here is one of their tutorials on how to use the appegiator tool in Vacuum.  BTW, an arpeggio is basically just playing the single notes in a chord, one after the other, instead of playing all the notes at the same time as is normal when you play a chord. Here's the link to the video: … [Read more...]

What Do You Most Want To Know About Home Recording?

Our mission at Home Brew Audio is to provide you with resources (tutorials, articles, gear reviews, tips and techniques, etc.) to help you achieve your goals and dreams.  For some, that will be recording their music so they they can release their own songs or CDs, record demos and auditions, etc.  For others, it might be to start a voice-over career - getting paid to be the voice behind radio or TV ads, e-Learning videos, audio books, documentaries, video games, etc.  And for some it might mean putting out more professional sounding podcasts, YouTube videos, webinars, sales videos, etc. Either way, there are so many topics out there for us to write about and create tutorials around that I thought it was time to ask you directly what you would like to learn.  If you ask us for it, we … [Read more...]

SMPTE Timecode And Synchronization

Here is an article about synchronizing recording devices so that there is a common time reference for all machines and people involved in a recording project involving either just audio, or both audio and video.  In the days of tape recording (and for those who still use tape) it was common to "stripe" the tape with SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) time code, essentially using up one of your precious available tracks, for the sole purpose of providing the common time reference, which was really handy if you were using several MIDI instruments. For many of us recording on our computers, this is not as necessary anymore.  And a lot of us will never use it, especially those of us recording solely for voice-over applications.  But it is always good for the … [Read more...]

The Secret To Good Quality Audio On Your Home Recording Studio

Everyone has their favorite tool for doing certain kinds of jobs. For example, I use the large chef’s knife to slice tomatoes, but my wife likes the paring knife for the same job. They both work. And if I lost my knife, I could use my wife’s. Nobody likes change, but at the end of the day, as long as you know what the job is (smite the tomato into tiny pieces), any knife will do. What does this have to do with recording audio at home? Here’s what. Surf around the internet for advice on setting up a home recording studio and you’ll get all kinds of advice about what gear you NEED to have. If you look at the blogs and forums where continuing tips and tricks are being doled out, you’ll find that most of the time, the advice is how to use a certain piece of gear or software. That’s great if … [Read more...]

Is EQ Really Necessary?

Someone asked this question over at the Home Recording Forum: If you're getting the right tone from the start when you record, for example using the tone control on the guitar and its amplifier, why is EQ needed in mixing? I've read a bunch of articles singing the praises of EQ, but in the mixes I made I didn't touch it and they worked fine. I think I only used it once, to round off some top end on a guitar that was annoyingly bright. Why is it considered so important? I answered the question with the following: You're right about EQ's necessity if you get the tones right at the source. Ideally it should not be needed, especially if you only have one or two tracks to deal with (say a voice over with some royalty-free music). Many folks over-use EQ to "fix" bad recording … [Read more...]

Wind Across US Open Microphone Causing Distraction

At the US Open Men's final, heavy winds blowing across the umpire's microphone caused a very loud, deep noise to echo across the court. Announcer John McEnroe said "Someone should tell the umpire to turn his mic off - it's distracting to the players." This just goes to show that even though microphone windshields help greatly, they cannot completely eliminate that wind noise. I wrote a few days ago about the very large and peculiar-looking windshield being used by the US Open tennis umpires, the Rycote Baby Ball Gag Windshield. Read more about that here: … [Read more...]

How To Be Your Own Glee Club – Queen Harmony Demo

What do you do when you don't have anyone else to sing harmony with? You sing harmony with yourself! Okay, what the heck is Ken talking about this time? Well, I was watching Glee recently, and one of the songs in the show was the Queen song, Fat Bottomed Girls, which opens with a killer a capella harmony. I couldn't get the song out of my head, so I decided to sing it (the intro anyway)...all 9 the same time. Normally one person can't sing harmony with themselves, though I think there ought to be a surgery that allows it:). But with a computer and a mic, you can literally be every person in a Glee Club! If you're curious about how it came out, click on the audio player below for the intro to Fat Bottomed Girls as sung once again by me, myself and me 2. [jwplayer … [Read more...]

Vocal Harmony Experiments

I have done several vocal harmony demos on how you can use your pc recording studio to record your own harmonies, using just your own voice. Obviously the same techniques work for multiple people each singing their own harmony parts, but that's not the point. So what is? Well I wanted to show someone several examples of the "how to record harmonies" demos we've done and realized it was sort of hard because they were all their own individual posts. So I created this page in order to have all the harmony audios in one place. So here they are. These examples contain only one guy singing all the parts to just the awesome a capella intros to a couple of famous songs, which is a neat audio recording technique you can learn here at Home Brew Audio. As we do more, we'll add them here as well.  … [Read more...]

Sing Harmony With Yourself – Learn How to Record Your Voice on Your PC and Sing Along With It!

Have you ever been singing a song by yourself, and you could just hear the harmonies that were "supposed" to be there but were not? Every time I sing Take It Easy, by The Eagles, I get to the chorus and just have to imagine that I have Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmidt standing beside me. Without the vocal harmonies, the song just doesn't have the same punch, the same magic. Imagine trying to perform Kansas' Carry On Wayward Son, solo! I don't think so (actually I managed to do it...the intro anyway. Wanna hear it? It's right here: Vocal Harmony Experiments.) The same holds true for Bohemian Rhapsody, by Queen. There are certain songs that just cannot or should not be performed without those magical vocals. So what in the world do you do about it if you're a solo performer? Well, for … [Read more...]

What We Can Learn About Mixing From Chris Lord-Alge

Chris Lord-Alge is a very well-known recording engineer, known chiefly for his specialty - mixing (see our article about the 3 sub-specialties of recording engineers - Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer and Mastering Engineer – Oh My).  He has put his signature of extreme dynamic range compression on a huge number of hits from the 80s up to today, including albums by James Brown, Dave Matthews, Daughtry, Creed, Nickleback, Switchfoot, Art of Dying, My Chemical Romance, Bruce Springsteen, and tons of others. Here is an article that talks about how Chris Lord-Alge got his sound - his secret of simple mixes with punch and clarity. He uses lots of sub-mixes (called "folders" in Reaper) and compositing of tracks. Here is the full article by Björgvin Benediktsson: … [Read more...]