The Pull Of Spheres Live Set

The Pull Of Spheres300

The Pull Of Spheres Live Set <- Audio Link <- Video Link
Dub and Deep House Live Set 08-27-2015

This set is the last of three pieces, all intended to explore using the Maschine Studio for live performances. All of the music in the set was created strictly on the hardware, and as you can see it was performed using just the hardware controller too. Link the studio dog has a supporting role as well.

All of the sounds in the set came from either the Maschine stock library, or Komplete 9. Just like in the other two sets, the exception is the one field recording I used in each of the 8 ”songs” in the set. These were recorded using a Rode iXY at various places around where I live in Luxembourg.

Of all three of the sets I’ve done this way recently, this one by far used the most CPU power and I was constantly fighting for every free bit I could get to keep things from breaking up and crackling. The downside of getting Komplete 9 before I started writing the set, great sounds, but a bit more CPU hogs than Massive typically is. I’m still amazed at how well this combo is for writing live material though, even if the hardware itself is a bit hard to see outdoors in brighter light. 🙂

As usual, hope you enjoy.

Electribe2 Tips & Tricks Video

A quick video showing some tips and tricks for the Korg electribe2. Some of these are briefly (or poorly) mentioned in the manual, and some were discovered by other users on the Korg forums or electribe Facebook group. I’m not claiming to have created these all, just demonstrating them so others can learn some new techniques for studio and live use.


Getting The Most From Professional Mastering


As someone who’s been fortunate enough to master thousands of songs for other artists over the last 16 years, I’ve seen firsthand how much of a difference professional mastering can make to an artist’s song. However, every once in awhile the artist might not get exactly what they wanted. As this is usually down to communication and preparation and easily remedied, I thought it might be worth sharing some ideas on the best way to get the most out of your first time working with a professional Mastering Engineer.

1. The happier you are with your mix, the happier you’re going to be with the mastering. While we can sometimes make dramatic changes to the sound of mixdown, it’s important to remember that the goal of mastering is not to radically change the sound of your song. If there are problems in your mix that you know are keeping you from being happy with it, do your best to solve those prior to sending it for mastering.

If you’re at a loss for how to do this after trying for awhile, reach out to the Mastering Engineer you plan on working with and see if they can offer some quick pointers. Often times when we hear the song in our calibrated listening environments, we can spot issues and offer suggestions very quickly. Just remember you’re paying your Mastering Engineer (M.E.) to master your song, not provide weeks and weeks of mix advice, so try not to take advantage of what many mastering engineers consider a bit of free help.

On that note, not all mixdowns need tweaking prior to mastering either! Don’t be offended if the M.E. doesn’t come back with a list of changes to make. I find that often times artists are too self-conscious about their work, and think their mixdowns are lacking, when usually they are great as is!

2. Make sure you are sending the correct file, in the format the M.E. requests. You’d think it would be common knowledge at this point, but people still send MP3s to be mastered instead of uncompressed wavs or aiff files. Most Mastering Engineers prefer 24 or 32bit files, at the same sample-rate as the DAW project file. There are very few exceptions when exporting a mixdown at a higher sample-rate sounds better.  At best it might sound a little different, at worst it might actually sound worse than a lower sample-rate. Talk to your M.E. and see what they prefer so you’re both on the same page.

On that note, double check that the file you are sending is correct. Don’t just look at the waveform after it’s rendered, listen to it all the way from start to finish to ensure you’re sending them exactly what you think you’re sending. Often times mistakes happen because a track might have been accidentally muted, or perhaps the artist mistakenly sent a previous version of the mix they had been working on. Save everyone the hassle of having to redo the work by giving it one last listen before you send it in.

3. Give yourself plenty of time to get the most out of the mastering experience. Often as deadlines loom, it can be easy to let the mastering slip until the very last minute. Not only does this leave less time for any possible revisions to be made, but as artists we rarely make things sound the best while under the gun. I often tell my clients to take a couple days completely away from the mixdown when they think they are done (when possible), and then do that final listening check. Usually any mix issues you might have missed after weeks of focusing on the song are instantly recognizable with fresh ears.

4. Communication is key, both before and after the mastering session. Remember, we’re here to serve you! If you don’t tell us what you’re expecting, or what kind of issues you think the song has compared to your vision, we’ll never know. Don’t be afraid to send along a couple reference tracks you think your song can end up sounding like, or even just a few notes about what kind of sound you’re going for.

Likewise, if you get the master back and it’s not what you were expecting, let the Mastering Engineer know! Most offer a couple of free revisions, and usually once we know what it is you’re after, it’s easy to get the tracks where they need to be on the next pass. Again, we’re here to help you the artist achieve your goals, so don’t be embarrassed to ask for a few changes. Trust me, it happens more than you would think and most Mastering Engineers are only too happy to oblige. Ditto if you need different formats like MP3, DDPs, or MFiT compatible versions.

As you can see, none of this is really that complicated.  By taking a few steps to ensure you’re sending the best mixdown you can and communicating with the M.E. you choose to work with, the whole process should go smoothly for both parties. I’ll be the first to admit that not all songs need professional mastering. But when you’re ready to take that next step, keep these tips in mind and enjoy the difference an experienced engineer can make to the art you’ve spent so much time crafting. I think most people are more surprised by the results than they expected!

Peace and beats,

The Fields Around Us Audio Version

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The Fields Around Us Live PA <- Audio Link <- Video Link
Dub Techno & Deep House Set 06-19-2015

I posted video of this set roughly a month ago, and since then I’ve had a lot of people asking if there was an audio only copy of it.  Sorry it took me so long to get one uploaded, but via the link above you can now grab a 320kbps AAC version of the live set.

I also wanted to take a second to thank everyone who watched my original Maschine Studio live set, I just realized it’s now up to over 6,700 views!  I think that’s a new record for me, so cheers to everyone who enjoyed that set and commented on it as well.  I have another Maschine set well on it’s way to completion, if all goes well it will hopefully get recorded in a couple weeks.  After that, I’ll likely move on to a new project.

Perhaps… more Octatrack?  We shall see!  🙂

Peace and beats,