Many budding recordists have heard the term "direct box," or even used one without really knowing what it does. Maybe you've heard that a direct box (or DI) matches the "impedance" of your devices, but you really have no idea what that means. If all you're looking for is a nice tone from your instrument into your computer, then don't fret--a strong understanding of impedance is not necessary--but, you may want a little back-story to help wrap your mind around the concept (if not, skip to the section about types).
Previously, in Part 1 of this series on studio monitors, we discussed the advantages of mixing your productions on "studio monitors" instead of of "speakers." To recap, we learned that monitors will replicate the volume of different frequencies (or pitches) with far greater accuracy than speakers, and, as such, are best suited for engineers needing to to make informed decisions in their mix.
In the early 1920's a couple of German physicists were messing around with powerful magnets and thin strips of aluminum, and they managed to invent our beloved ribbon microphones. These ancient recording tools recently staged a formidable comeback in home and professional studios. Why? Because ribbon microphones deliver an uncanny smoothness that can mellow out brash sounds, and bring an old school vibe to recordings that you just can't deny.
Are your neighbors banging on your wall during band practice? Are your parents threatening to pull the plug on what could be the next Metallica? If so, you and your band need a "silent rehearsal studio." Meet JamHub.
JamHub allows a band to play together through a small portable "JamHub" while performers monitor themselves and each other through personal headphone mixes. Such an option is ideal for:
In today's crowded field of portable digital audio recorders (Tascam alone has seven different models on the market), the new DR-680 has managed to carve out an impressive niche for itself. It's currently the most affordable battery-powered field recorder that's capable of recording six separate microphone inputs onto their own individual track. That's big news for anyone on a tight budget who's involved with producing reality television, live music recordings, or any job where numerous microphones need to be recorded discretely. There are other portable recorders on the market that can accomplish these tasks, but the closest competitor costs over three times as much. This machine has rewritten the rules of what is and what is not possible on a strict location audio budget.
Have you ever been working on a creative project on your computer and you reach a point where the work looses its spark and starts to go downhill? It's a painful scenario in which the creative potential of your digital tools somehow destroys the idea you were chipping away at. This is a problem I've struggled with, and instead of giving up on all of my digitally-based artistic endeavors and going back to finger painting, I've decided to try a new approach to how I save my work.
Scrunchies. Board game pieces. Teeth. What do these things have in common? They're all small and easy to lose if you're not careful. If you use a lavalier microphone in any capacity (for video work, live sound, business presentations, etc.) then you're already aware that the clips are the easiest thing to lose in the entire universe. Buying replacement lav clips can be expensive, but there is one universally compatible (and very affordable) option that no one should leave home without…
In the 1983 film Brainstorm, Christopher Walken plays the role of scientist Michael Wood, who invents a helmet that transfers sensations and abilities into the human brain. In one scene Walken sits at a piano wearing the helmet, and he’s able to play a complicated composition on the keys even though he’s never played piano before. That scene has always stuck with me. It would be cool if a technological innovation came along that enabled people to do complicated stuff without training. This day has finally come, and the innovation is called The Schwarzonator.
As should be expected by now, there was yet another article in the NY Times recently that started me thinking (Watch out... this can be dangerous!). The article ('Bringing New Understanding to the Director's Cut', 3/1/10) discussed how the editing of a movie, i.e., the number of shots in each scene, how long they appear onscreen, the pacing, and the order in which they are bundled together greatly affects our perception of the movie. And that includes convincing ourselves we just saw a ‘terrific’ film, even if we didn’t find the film to be all that good.
Musikmesse 2010 got started today in Frankfurt Germany, and there were so many interesting new products announced that I'm starting to drool like a well-groomed Scottish Terrier. The name of this show kind of suggests that it's a big "musical mess." Even though Europe's biggest pro audio tradeshow is highly organized, it's such a crazy event with so many exciting announcements that it lives up to the English interpretation of its name. Here are a few new products that got our tails wagging...
If you use Sony MDR-7506, V6, or Audio Technica M-30 headphones, then we have some very good news! The new Pearstone Deluxe Earpads are now available, and they do nothing short of making your current headphones vastly better than they already were. They’re called “deluxe” because they have soft velour pads and a smoother foam-backed surface that covers the headphone driver. The result is a simple upgrade that makes your headphones far more comfortable.
It might seem like manufacturers like juicedLink are rushing too quickly to adapt current HD capable DSLR's for video work. On the surface it may appear that Canon's new 2.0.4 firmware update for the EOS 5D Mark II renders the recently released DN101 obsolete. While Canon's new firmware does give the 5D Mark II audio meters and the option to turn off the AGC (automatic gain control) for manual control of the audio, the DN101 still provides you with some critical abilities for video production.
Loads of people are shooting HD video with DSLR cameras these days, and likewise, they're discovering that attaching microphones and other audio equipment to these cameras can be a little tricky. If you want to use a professional shotgun microphone on your camera, you're going to need a special kind of mount called a "shockmount" that will help the sensitive microphone avoid handling and vibration noise. Here's a list of a few good shockmounts for DSLRs...
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