28 May

Looking for a good mouse

It seems that I always destroy my Apple Mouse at least in every 3-5 months.

Apple Mouse

Because of my RSI I almost daily change the input device, between a Kensington Expert Mouse Pro and the Apple Mouse. The Kensington seems to be a very tough guy as it has been working flawlessly for more than 3 years now, and you can guess… I killed many Apple mice during this period.

Now I’m looking for a reliable, preferably very comfortable mouse with additional programmable buttons that works with the Mac too, and has wire. I know it’s 2015, but I still prefer these ones instead of the cordless ones. For some reason I can’t work with a pen tablet. I tried many models from Wacom, it’s simply not for me sadly.

Please suggest me good alternatives in the comments, or in email or through the contact form. Thank you.

12 May

Need just a bit more DSP plugins

I confess I became a fan of DSP plugins, obviously in my case it means AAX DSP. Anyone who try to prove that there’s not enough of them is surely not surfing on the web, or try to deliberately avoid these plugins. Maybe it was a hard start, but now we have plenty of AAX DSP plugins, for many tasks we can even choose from different types and/or manufacturers.

And still, here and now I would like to ask more companies to consider coding their plugins to AAX DSP. I know there’s a plethora of different platforms to code to, but as even smaller companies started to do it, I see no reason why bigger or more popular ones don’t provide us users DSP versions of their plugins.

Maybe it’s not true, but in my opinion, the guys who’s invested into huge rigs are more willing to pay for the plugins than one man shops. As I see and experience it, one man shops only buy very few plugins, while bigger post houses, music studios buy more bundles with multiple licenses. Of course this is broad generalisation, but at least at this part of the industry, it’s true. So I think we might deserve a bit more attention.

And before you ask why I would like to have more DSP based plugins, well, this is why: my last mix almost ate a complete HDX2 hardware. I know native is powerful, but believe me, I tried, this mix would choke a pretty powerful computer, while it was going smooth with the DSP behind it.

hdx2

Plugin Alliance is good example. They have amazing plugins, some ported to DSP, some still only available in Native formats. As far as I know they’re planning to port all of their plugins for all platforms, but it takes time. Still would like to have some of their stuff in DSP format badly…

The other example, which is not so great in this regard is Fabfilter. I love their plugins, my favourite eq is their ProQ2, but I also in love with their Deesser. They make not only fabulous sounding tools, but their codes must be fine, because I hardly get any errors while I heavily use their tools during big mixing projects. In my opinion, they should definitely code their plugins to AAX DSP as soon as possible. They are very, I mean very popular not only in the music side of the industry, but also in the post side. I think they’d have an even bigger success if they would port their plugins to the format what holds the biggest share in this industry.

I know my opinion won’t change their minds, but I hope that somehow our prayer reach them and they consider a more active DSP porting process, or in other cases, they consider starting to code for AAX DSP.

04 May

The power of mobility

Or in other words, the power of mobile rigs. These days it’s so obvious that we have some kind of equipment even in our backpacks. A laptop with or without a sound card, headphones, maybe an iLok. And probably this is all we need for a good mobile studio. Of course we cannot do everything on the road, but when the deadline is threateningly close, and you’ve got to do some minor editing, or just a bit of volume massage with some tiny compression afterward, it is more than possible to do these things with a kind of mobile studio that fits into your backpack comfortably.

As these days I’m drowned in mixing I hardly have time to finish some smaller tasks like a quick massage and edit on a final soundtrack cd. But, of course the deadline is here, so I have no choice but to finish it as soon as possible.

On the way home this weekend I happen to have almost 2 hours of free time on the train. The greatest opportunity to get the job done.

My trusty backpack holds everything I need for the task. A MacBook Pro, an iLok and my Sennheiser headphones. And, most importantly, the material on the SSD. So what would an audio geek do? You already know the answer: launch Pro Tools, make the necessary changes, edits and volume massage, and after an hour and a half, bounces the material.

plugs

While this is not a great technical achievement with today’s technology, it’s certainly very liberating to use the same tools as in the studio.

The session wasn’t  big, but even a few years ago this would give me some headache on the road.

  • One and half hour HD movie with stereo pgm sound
  • 6 mix stems
  • almost 80 plugins across the stems and the final stereo

This was a work in progress, I wouldn’t want to make such big decisions on headphones on a train, but as I only had to finish the last bit of this job, I was able to do it comfortably.

bounce

Too often I hear poor excuses as to why some task is impossible without the most expensive tools, while in reality we not only have fine tools, but we already have the best tools, maybe even on the road with us. This is just a gentle reminder that sometimes we have to be more realistic.

This session started on a Pro Tools HDX system with many AAX DSP plugins. When I opened it up on the laptop, I only had a notification that all DSP plugins had been converted to Native. I didn’t have to do anything special, just do the necessary things. And if you need 40 different compressors and 50 different Eq to get the job done (in reality you don’t need…), you can do it, probably even on the road.

28 Apr

Reducing live sound presence

It’s a decision I should’ve made long time ago, but last year’s chaos which still has its impact on my schedule even now at the end of April made me realise that this situation is not sustainable.

I still love live sound, but apparently it eats up my valuable post production time, so much that I cannot really think about work-life balance, I can only talk about live work-post work balance and huge, huge backlog. I started to build a great, reliable system in Omnifocus which clearly showed me that I want to do more than it’s possible. It doesn’t mean that I completely abandon live sound, but I won’t do any more festival jobs that usually require to be available through whole summer. I’ll still take some selected gigs with few bands, but that’s manageable.

Of course it’s not a one-minute decision, and it requires some transition time, but hopefully after this summer I’m not going to have this huge backlog I have now.

23 Apr

Avid S6 quick tip #1

I thought it might be useful to share some little tips to enhance your S6 experience, or simply just to get some ideas or minor workflow improvements. So here it is, the first little tip.

Often during a mix session the producer/director/composer/musician ask for some change and then they immediately stare at the screen or at the control surface searching for clues that they idea is happening right in front of them realtime. While this is nice and natural, I always try to gently force them to listen instead of looking for visual evidence.

For this very reason I always make a special, empty Layout on the S6. When they start to look for fader or encoder movement I simply recall my LISTEN!!! Layout. Sometimes they just ask what happened, but more often they appreciate it, and start to focus on the aural happenings.

layout knob

If you don’t have any Layout yet, then you don’t have to do anything, simply push the Layout knob on the master section. If you have some Layouts, then simply create a new one with nothing assigned to the faders and save it as LISTEN!!! (of course you can choose any other name). Whenever you need it, just recall it. It is not there to make fool of anyone, it is there to help you and the creative people around you to focus on the much more important thing, the mix itself. Enjoy!