Friday, July 31, 2009

Mackie Onyx800R Interface

For an extra 8 tracks of digital recording with pristine sound at a great cost, check out the Mackie Onyx800R. And piggyback the Onyx800R to the DigiDesign Digi003R for a streamlined mobile recording rig..

This setup gives you 16 channels input/output with 8 Onyx digital pre-amps and 8 Focusrite pre's on the Digi003. If tracking local garage bands is your thing, this is plenty of i/o for an audio engineer/producer in a project studio. Basic session setup will most likely pan out to 8 tracks for drums, and 8 ins for vox, gtr, bass, and keys. This setup will vary for each session, but that's the basic idea.

Any project studio environment can extend it's track count by using an array of Onyx digital interfaces alongside the basic digital recording setup of DigiDesign or other recording gear manufacturers.

So, optically hookup the Onyx800R to your
digital interface like a Digidesign Digi003R..

and add the digital gear to the rest of
your computer-based recording setup..

next add some drum mics..

and maybe a sub-kick or 2..

and throw up a decent vocal mic..

..and you're off to the races, recording demo/cds in your project studio! Don't forget to come back for the next blog article in this series to learn how to "open a new session" in Pro Tools on a Mac. Til then- peace!

Mike the AudioK9

check out the Mackie Onyx 800R stats:

Onyx 800R Technical Specifications

Frequency Response
Mic Input to Line Output (Gain @ unity):
+0, –0.1 dB, 20 Hz to 30 kHz
+0, –3 dB, 10 Hz to 170 kHz
Mic Input to Digital Output (AES, 192 kHz sample rate):
+0, –0.2 dB, 20 Hz to 85 kHz
+0, –1 dB, 10 Hz to 90 kHz
Distortion (THD & IMD)
Mic Input to Line Output (@ +4 dBu output):
THD+N: <>123 dB (Mic In to Line Out)
>113 dB (through A-to-D converters)
Signal-to-Noise (A-weighted):
>103 dB (ref. +4 dBu, Mic In to Line Out, Gain @ unity)
Equivalent Input Noise (E.I.N.), 20 Hz to 20 kHz Bandwidth,

150Ω source impedance:
–129 dBu @ +60 dB gain
Residual Output Noise:
Line Out: < –102 dBu (Channel Gain at unity)
Digital Out (AES, 48 kHz): < –113 dB FS
Common Mode Rejection Ratio (CMRR) Mic In: >60 dB @ 1 kHz, Gain @ maximum
Mic Input to Line Output:
< –100 dB @ 1 kHz, +10 dBu signal on adjacent input,

150Ω source impedance Input Gain Control Range
Mic In: 0 dB to +60 dB Line In: –20 dB to + 40 dB
Phantom Power +48 VDC Equalization
High-Pass Filter: 75 Hz @ 18 dB/octave
Rated Output Line: +4 dBu
Maximum Rated Output: +24 dBu @ Balanced Line-Level
Outputs AC Power Requirements Power Consumption:
45 watts Universal AC Power Supply: 100 VAC 240 VAC,
50-60 Hz Physical Dimensions and
Weight Height: 1.75 in/44 mm
Width: 17.75 in/451 mm (main body of unit),
19.00 in/483 mm (with rack ears)
Depth: 14.38 in/365 mm (including front knobs and rear BNC jack)
Weight: 10.6 lb/4.8 kg
Maximum Input Levels
Mic Input: +22 dBu, Gain @ unity Inst
Input: +21 dBu, Gain @ –20 dB
Line Input: > +22 dBu, Gain @ –20 dB
Input Impedance
Ch 1 and 2 Mic Input:
300Ω, 500Ω, 1.3 kΩ, or 2.4 kΩ balanced
Ch 3 through 8 Mic Input: 2.4 kΩ balanced
Inst Input: 1 MΩ
Line: 20 kΩ balanced, 10 kΩ unbalanced
Output Impedance
Line: 100 Ω balanced
Signal Level LEDs
–20 dBu, 0 dBu (normal operating level), OL = 22 dBu
Sample Frequency Selections
32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz,

176.4 kHz, 192 kHz, External
Bit Depth Selections
24-bit (full range from converters), 16-bit (dithered)
Analog Input Connectors
Eight balanced XLR mic inputs
Two 1/4" TS high-impedance instrument inputs
One DB25 connector with eight balanced line-level inputs
Analog Output Connectors
One DB25 connector with eight balanced line-level outputs
Digital Input Connectors
One BNC connector for external word clock input
Digital Output Connectors
Two Toslink Optical Connectors
Both transmit channels 1-8 at 44.1/48 kHz operation
One transmits channels 1-4 and one transmits

channels 5-8 at 88.2/96 kHz operation
using S/MUX standard
One transmits channels 1-2 and one transmits

channel 3-4 at 176.4/192 kHz
operation using S/MUX standard
One DB25 Connector
Transmits AES/EBU or S/PDIF formatted digital audio
with single-wire/dual-wire options available at all
sample rates

Digidesign Digi003R Factory

Digidesign Pro Tools Software

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

eQ Tips 4project studio

This micro-blog is in response for eQ/mix help on home project studio recordings. EQ and other tricks in the tracking sessions can make or break an original digital audio file. The right or wrong technique.. used in record/mix mode including everything from mic set-up to eq'ing the track, can render a song's mix with clean, pristine tracks or an utter mess of digital clips or distortion.

This can be broken down into several different topics. For sake of brevity, today we'll just cover the problem areas of a mix and add more tips later.

During playback of a new Twitter friend's mixes/recordings- some tech issues were noted..

artist: The Illtronics

DrowniNg tHe SouNd

issue #1: clean female vox [vocals] but some distortion noticed on male vox! this issue was not notable yet slightly noticeable to a trained ear.

issue #2: "boxiness" in kick drum sound- slight rattle noise from kick drum sounding similar to a "cardboard box" when beat, picked up during natural recording atmosphere of acoustic kick drum [this issue common with snare/kick/toms].

issue #3: "muddy" bass sound in song mix associated with overload of bass frequencies.

what to do?

FiX tHe MiX!

tip1: male vox over compression/clipping can cause distortion in your mix..

so check several things to combat this issue- physical proximity of vocalist to the microphone [use the "one fist rule"], stick a pop filter in front of the mic to eliminate/reduce the amount of wetness/drool the singer spits on the mic, check the input level on the track so it's not clipping and set @aprox -3dB down max to prevent nasty digital overloads [distortion], and good mic technique from the singer helps the track by staying "on-axis" and consistent!

translation1» play with different mic techniques to find "your sound"!

tip2: eQ w/plug-in and pull out [attenuate/cut 3-6 dB] Lo-Mids from the kick [in the 300-400hZ range +/-50hZ] and boost Lo freq's +3 to 9dB [in the 60-80hZ range] plus boost the +Hi freq's [in the 3-6k hZ range]..

translation2» boosting LO's will give "thump", cutting LO-Mids will take out "cardboard box" sound, and boosting Hi's will add "beater" attack sound!

tip3: eQ on bass, try to cut [-] lo-mids [in the 150hZ range +/-50hZ] to take some "mud" out of the bass guitar mix, and play with Hi-end eQ [in the 5K hZ range +/-] to boost some string action!

translation3» subtractive eQ'ing bass frequencies in LO-Mids will clean up the bass track and allow more of a pocket for the LO-Mids on rhythm/lead electric guitar tracks [this prevents something called "frequency masking" or drowning out specific tones from similar instruments] and allows for something engineers refer to as "mixing in pockets"!

That's it in a nutshell for today! This might shed some light on possible record/mix solutions for the project studio.

Mike the audioK9
indie audio engr

audioK9 comments: love the recordings- great mixes! clean sound and nice mix w/808kick on 1song.. did you record acoustic drums or use samplz? like the samples on 'all wanna do' +clean female vox.. personally like to use fx on mix, depending on style.. male vox clip? otherwise great mixing on illtronics songs [trax/vol/pan].. like the "hifi-fx" on 'so high'!

author's sidenote: on 'mind delay' project i prod/engr/mixed in hollywood apt and recorded original tracks in an eastLA garage» MindDelay music

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Digidesign Digi003R

Today AudioK9 starts a series on music demo recording for garage bands and other indie artists. In this series we will discuss basic hardware, audio software, and project studio tips/techniques for new audio engineers or artists to put to work. Major labels might still run sessions/mixes though a professional studio geared up for pro-sound. However, there's a ton of new fun digital gear for the rest of us to capture a great project studio sound.

To start off this tutorial we will bring in the Digidesign Digi003R Rack Factory digital interface for Pro Tools. I'm mainly a Pro Tools guy on a Mac, however this audio info can be adapted to almost any hardware/software/platform configuration. This is a great piece of hardware for starting out in the world of digital audio- with many options for signal flow in/out. You can record the entire band in your home/project studio, garage, or even live! Digi003® Rack+ Factory is ideal for musicians, recording engineers, and producers looking for a pro music recording and production solution that’s basically inexpensive and mobile to boot.

Digi003R Specs:
• Mic Inputs 8 balanced XLR jacks
• Mic Phantom Power: 48V
• Frequency Response: +0.0 / -0.25 dB, 20 Hz - 20 kHz
• Dynamic Range: 103 dB / 106 dB A-weighted
• Gain Range: +18 – +65 dB
• Line/DI Inputs 8 balanced 1/4" jacks
• Aux Inputs 2 balanced 1/4" jacks
• Digital Sample Rates: 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96 kHz
• S/PDIF: 2-channel optical or RCA jack pair
• Digital Optical: TOSLINK max 48 kHz rate
• MIDI: 5-pin MIDI DIN connectors 1 i/o
• Line Outputs: 8 impedance balanced 1/4" jacks
• Monitor Outputs: 4 balanced 1/4" jacks
• Headphone Outputs: 2 unbalanced 1/4" jacks
• Word Clock: 2 BNC jacks
• Host Connection: 2 IEEE-1394a (FireWire400)

Pro Tools LE 8.0 Software:
• Pro Tools® recording, editing, and mixing
• 48 simultaneous stereo audio tracks
• FX plug-ins and virtual instruments
• MIDI sequencing w/editor window
• Elastic Time/Pitch
• Beat Detective™ LE groove analysis and tool
• ReWire support for app's
• Support for the Digidesign C|24™ and Command|8® control surfaces
• 3rd party plug-ins and software options
• Mac and PC compatible

To get a basic session set-up going for a demo recording, here's a screen shot from a pre-production Pro Tools garage band session. One song off this session ended up on a demo cd for the artist. In the setup below you can see the mic/input track assignment is extremely basic and minimalist- not so much to save hard drive space but more importantly to save time in the studio!

Tracks in this demo session setup:
• kick
• snare
• o/h-left
• o/h-right
• scratch vocal
• guitar
• bass

+add a track for click, o/dub vox, and master fader!

This type of 'basic demo recording' cuts expensive time in the studio track/mixing. And new artists need to save money for things like promotion, buying gear, and scouting prospective record labels. Track the band/artist on 3-4 songs allowing them to jam and experiment with song structure- nailing down arrangements to record and play live.

With this easy track setup, new engineers can figure out mic placement and routing to the back of the digital interface. Kick in 1, snare in 2, overheads 3/4 and so on. Search the input options upon opening tracks in the new Pro Tools session and match the mic input list with the new track you add in the edit/mix window. Now arm the tracks, adjust the input volume to prevent clipping, and you're off to the new world of digital recording.

More extended instructions for new session setup, opening/arming tracks, and understanding the mix/edit window- coming soon in future lessons here on the AudioK9 Blog and DigiPro101..


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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Live Sound: FOH on Langley501

FOH mixing console at Sunset Strip's infamous Whisky: Amek's Langley501!

The Whisky uses a 40-channel version of the Langley501 introduced by Amek in 1995. This console was designed and manufactured during the time Rupert Neve.. worked as consultant for Amek. Neve and his pre-amps are infamous in the music industry- need I say more? This baby has its quirks with maintenance issues [like any audio gear] and it's hard to find a certified tech to work on it; however the sonic character of the signal passing through those pre's and across the eq section just puts the engineer in a great position for an awesome mix. It's an extremely intuitive piece of gear for professional audio engineers- whether mixing on it nightly or guest-mixing one night on a tour.

Specs for the 501 are scarce- yet here's some tech info from memory:
• Whisky version 40-channel
• 4 VCA Groups
• 6 group outs
• 8 Aux sends
• semi-parametric EQ w/sweepable mids
• direct-outs each channel
• ShowTime software w/recall & scene snapshot
• stereo buss out +mono send w/faders
• master section w/matrix for group out assignments
• onboard oscillator for tones
• channel matrix for grouping
• 2 power supplies

Mixing 2000+ bands at The Whisky on Sunset Strip half FOH [front-of-house] on the 501 has left me with a technical fondness for this console. Now preparing to set up a digital recording studio back in the Midwest- I'd love to install the 501 on the front end of a digital rig strictly for the analog pre-amps and eQ! Maybe if the Whisky slams a new console in at FOH position, I can get a great deal on an old friend of a console.

The Langley501 sitting in The Whisky on Sunset Blvd has mixed so many national/regional acts it's crazy- but here's a short list:

TheDoors VelvetRevolver TimMcGraw FaithHill TaylorSwift JackIngram RebaMcEntire WillHoge JagermeisterMusicTour'08 BodogBattleOfTheBands CrueFestHlwd'06/07 SkoolOfRock PlanetRockSchool'08 JackDanielsRockin'CountryNights JackBlackBattleOfTheBands ProjectIndependent PeppermintCreeps AtomicPunks Prong LedZepagain MindDelay Grynch BlaxMyth BodogBattleOfBands PrettyBoyFloyd XEO3 TheDreaming Nocturne CaliforniaTransitAuthority TravisMcCoy[GymClassHeroes] Krome Three[3] Space/Franko ChainDriven OpusDai 10Years Dilana/NoDuh! Damcyan Fermata MProductions DayZero NitroRocks Desecrate Rattlehead Kaustk Genitorturers DareDevilJane BillyBoyOnPoison BifNaked MistyOdell GoddessAndShe PoetsAndPornstars TheWhoShow Optimus InterstateBlues LAGuns MotorGunHotel TypeONegative HateBreed 69Eyes Irate TheSkips +many more..

Thanks Amek and Rupert Neve! Long live the Langley501..

Mike aka AudioK9
eX-Whisky Sound

Police Reunion Tour 1st Concert

Yes- that's the "Sting" channel strip!

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Live Sound: Monitors on SM12

Live Sound: Monitors on SM12.. Sunset Strip's Whisky-agogo with the AudioK9 running monitors on a SoundCraft. This SM12 is a 32-channel live console with 12 mix-groups and 4semi-parametric sweepable EQ's per strip for killing.. those unwanted offending freq's.

The SM12 is a British product and so has opposite engineering in some respects- the mix "send" knobs on the channel strips are placed with mix1 on the bottom near the channel fader. This doesn't seem like a big deal unless you learn on American hardware and then try this setup. It actually works surprisingly well when positioned stage-right facing the stage- the mixes line up with line-of-sight across the stage. The 12mix setup is great for 3 down-stage mixes, 1 drummer mix [dual mono], and 2 side-fills; leaving enough extra mixes for 3stereo in-ear sends. It has a great master section for routing options for talkback to monitor and testing wedges with oscillator tones.

The SoundCraft SM12 console is an awesome workhorse of live music equipment. It stands up to the test of everyday professional live-sound production gear. This I know first hand, spending most everyday of a 2 year stint as house engineer on the Hollywood Strip working from the SM12 and a Langley501 FOH console- running up to 9 bands per night through 30 minute sets in a demanding live music venue. This console delivers every time- two thumbs up!

Rock on! AudioK9

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Taylor Swift Rocks Country!

Watching Taylor Swift on The Ellen Show and thinking- hey Taylor Swift Rocks that Country!

Haven't seen Taylor since mixing sound for her at The Whisky on Sunset in 2007- or was that 2006? Both years were.. kind of a blur- mainly from mixing 9bands a night in a high-paced Hollywood club [stage monitors that night- and yes on the SM12 from the other blog]. Anyway, it was Rockin Country Nights at The Whisky, sponsored by you guessed it "Jack Daniels", and Taylor hit the stage with such grace, confidence, and talent. I'll never forget how professional this little 16 yo was in a famous rock club on Sunset- and her mom was soooooo nice too [which goes far with the sound guy and crew]!

The quick little set was tight and entertaining- she definitely captured her Hollywood audience. The cool thing is that night she debuted her new Tim McGraw song for the fans- and it was a hit then, of course even bigger when she sang it for Tim himself at the CMA's about a year later. Not to take credit, but I did tell her mom that night "Taylor's gonna go bigtime".. and here she is, bigger than life. Even though I'm kind of a metal guy, that night stuck out in my mind- since Taylor opened for another star straight out of Nashville, Jack Ingram. It was just one of those magical Whisky nights that still puts a smile on my face- especially when I hear my 10yo son Stone YouTubing Ms. Swift's "Tim McGraw" or Jack's "Barbie Doll". Cool night!

Peace out, AudioK9

disclaimer: oh hey- I only caught the Ellen re-run months after the original show 'cause I don't watch TV much anymore.. but Taylor's performance with her band was pro-level, plus Ellen rocks and so does her show!

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