Welcome to No Limit Sound Productions

Company Founded
2005
Overview

Our services include Sound Engineering, Audio Post-Production, System Upgrades and Equipment Consulting.
Mission
Our mission is to provide excellent quality and service to our customers. We do customized service.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Q. What are the characteristics of vintage mics?

Mike Senior




I've been browsing a vintage microphone site and it got me thinking: what kind of characteristics are actually offered by vintage mics? Can the same sound be achieved with modern mics and EQ? Isn't most of the 'vintage sound' due to tape and valves rather than mics?



The sought-after sound of the classic vintage mics is partly down to the fact that microphones used in professional studios many years ago would have been of particularly high quality to start with — and quality tends to age well.The sought-after sound of the classic vintage mics is partly down to the fact that microphones used in professional studios many years ago would have been of particularly high quality to start with — and quality tends to age well.The sought-after sound of the classic vintage mics is partly down to the fact that microphones used in professional studios many years ago would have been of particularly high quality to start with — and quality tends to age well.



Via SOS web site



SOS Technical Editor Hugh Robjohns replies: A good vintage capacitor mic sounds much the same as a good modern equivalent, and the same goes for ribbons and moving coils. Having said that, there has been a tendency over the last decade or two to make modern mics sound brighter, partly because the technology has improved to allow that, and partly because of aural fashion.



Also, professional mics that are now considered vintage were usually pretty expensive in their day — studios and broadcasters bought very high‑quality products — and that high‑end quality generally persists despite the age of the microphones.



Most of the vintage mics you'll find on those kinds of sites, though, are either valve capacitor mics or ribbons, and they both have inherent characteristics of their own that a lot of people revere. Ribbons have a delightfully smooth and natural top end, while high‑quality valve capacitor mics often have mid‑range clarity and low‑end warmth. These qualities can still be found in some modern equivalents if you choose carefully.



Some of the vintage character is certainly attributable to recording on tape, replaying from vinyl, and the use of valves and transformers. But some is also down to the construction of the microphone capsules and the materials used, not all of which are still available in commercial products today.    


Korg Support FAQs - Why am I not hearing my M3's piano, brass or woodwind sounds?

Q. How can I learn to create drum parts?

Mike Senior




I'm just starting out in learning to record audio but am beginning to expand on what I want to do. Though I'm now fairly competent at using my DAW of choice (Reaper), I'm finding it really difficult to create drum parts. What would be the most straightforward way for a complete beginner to get into and learn about this?

Just type 'sample' into the 'quick search' box at the top right‑hand side of the SOS home page to access an enormous archive of sample‑library reviews.

Just type 'sample' into the 'quick search' box at the top right‑hand side of the SOS home page to access an enormous archive of sample‑library reviews.Just type 'sample' into the 'quick search' box at the top right‑hand side of the SOS home page to access an enormous archive of sample‑library reviews.



Sara Willis, via email



SOS contributor Mike Senior replies: In a word: loops. There are two basic things you have to contend with when putting together great drum parts. Firstly, you have to obtain good performances: whether you're wanting the sound of live drums or electronic drum‑machine timbres, the nuances of the performance or programming of the part play a vital role in creating a commercial sound in almost any style. Secondly, you need to be able to control the sonics well enough to build up a decent mix once all the other parts of your arrangement are in place. The reason I recommend loops as a starting point is that it simplifies the process of dealing with these issues. All you have to do is find a suitable loop and then learn how to adjust its performance or sonics where the unique circumstances of your music require it.

If you drag a REX2 file into Reaper's main arrange window, it'll automatically match itself to the project's tempo and present you with a series of beat slices. These slices make it easy to rearrange the performance, and also provide you with a lot of extra sonic options at mixdown.

Finding a good library really shouldn't be hard. I've been reviewing loop collections for the magazine for ages now and I know that there are loads of really good ones available, catering for just about every musical genre imaginable. My first suggestion would be to go back through the magazine's sample‑library reviews: typing 'sample' into the 'quick search' field at the top right‑hand side of the SOS web site should pull them up out of the magazine's online archives for you. Anything with a four‑ or five‑star review is definitely worth investigating, but don't part with any cash before you've had a careful listen to the manufacturer's audio demos, and you should be as picky as possible in looking for exactly the right sonics for your needs. Don't just listen on your laptop's speaker or earbuds — drag the demo files over to your studio system, and if example loops are provided, try those out within a test project. This is what I regularly do as part of the review process, and it can be very revealing. Lining the demos up against some of your favourite commercial records may also help you narrow down the choices.



As far as the library format is concerned, I suggest you look for something based on REX2 loops, because these beat‑sliced files typically offer better tempo‑matching and rearrangement opportunities than the time‑stretching formats (such as Acidised WAV or Apple Loops). I don't think there's much sense in getting involved with any of the virtual instrument‑based libraries at this stage: while they can increase your flexibility in terms of sonics and programmability, they can also add a great deal of complexity to the production process, and I imagine you've got enough on your plate already with learning about all of this stuff! Often, loop‑library developers structure their libraries into 'suites', with several similar loops grouped together, and this can make it easier to build some musical variation into your song structure. There are also libraries that include supplementary 'one‑shot' samples of some of the drums used, and these can also be very handy for customising the basic loops, as well as for programming fills, drops and endings manually.



If you drag a REX2 file into Reaper's main arrange window, it'll automatically match itself to the project's tempo and present you with a series of beat slices. These slices make it easy to rearrange the performance, and also provide you with a lot of extra sonic options at mixdown.If you drag a REX2 file into Reaper's main arrange window, it'll automatically match itself to the project's tempo and present you with a series of beat slices. These slices make it easy to rearrange the performance, and also provide you with a lot of extra sonic options at mixdown.Faced with a shortlist of good‑sounding REX2 libraries, the last consideration is whether the performances really sound musical. This is the most elusive character of a loop library and it's an area where the SOS review can provide some guidance. My usual barometer in this respect while reviewing is whether the loops make me want to stop auditioning and immediately rush off to make some music, so thinking in those terms may help clarify your thinking. It's also a good sign if the drum hits in the loop seem somehow to lead into each other, rather than just sounding like isolated events, because this can really make a difference to how a track drives along.



Once you've laid hands on some decent loops, you can just drag files directly onto a track in your Reaper project and they should, by default, match themselves to your song's tempo. Because each drum hit will have its own loop slice, it's quite easy to shuffle them around to fit existing parts. Just be aware that sounds with long sustain tails may carry over several adjacent slices. Map out a rough drum part by copying your chosen loops, making sure that Snap is 'on' so that the loops always lock to bar‑lines, but then be sure to also put in some work introducing fills and variations, so that the listener doesn't get bored. There are lots of ways of varying the loop patterns: edit or rearrange the slices; substitute a different loop from the same 'suite'; or layer additional one‑shots over the top. A lot of people think that using loops inevitably makes repetitive‑sounding music, but with most REX2 libraries there's no excuse whatsoever for letting this happen. (If you want to listen to an example of a drum part built with REX2 loops, check out my Mix Rescue remix from SOS October 2008 at /sos/oct08/articles/mixrescue_1008.htm, where I completely replaced the band's original drum parts in this way.)



The REX2 slices can also assist when it comes to adjusting sonics at the mix, because it's easy to slide, say, all the kick‑drum slices onto a separate track for processing. This is such a useful technique that I often end up doing it manually with loops at mixdown, even when they're not REX2 files! The Mix Rescue I did in SOS November 2010 (/sos/nov10/articles/mixrescue‑1110.htm) is a good example of this, and with that one you can even download the full Reaper remix project from the SOS web site if you want to look at how I implemented this in more detail.

    

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Q. How can I make my masters louder?

Sound Advice : Mixing




Mike Senior



I'm really new to recording, but I've been getting on well using the Tascam 2488 Neo 24-track digital recorder. However, when I create a master and then burn to CD, the overall volume is low. I record at about ‑10dBFS to avoid clipping and then use the compressor at mixdown to boost levels and even things out. This does raise the volume a tad, but nowhere near to that of commercial CDs. Am I correct in thinking that I'll have to use a lot of compression and limiting to get the levels to where I want them?



Low‑threshold, low‑ratio compression can be used to increase the subjective loudness of your mixes without excessively compromising dynamic range.Low‑threshold, low‑ratio compression can be used to increase the subjective loudness of your mixes without excessively compromising dynamic range.



Via SOS web site

Low‑threshold, low‑ratio compression can be used to increase the subjective loudness of your mixes without excessively compromising dynamic range.

SOS Technical Editor Hugh Robjohns replies: Indeed, you will find it very hard to match the insane levels of some commercial CDs, but with a little compression and limiting you should be able to produce something that doesn't sound excessively quiet in comparison.



There are lots of ways of approaching this but, in general, when you're working on a track that is fundamentally well balanced but lacking in overall volume, I would start with some wide‑range and gentle compression. Typically, I would use a very low ratio — say 1.5:1 or even lower — and set it up with a very low threshold of around ‑40dBFS, so that it is slightly squashing everything in the mix, from the loudest to the softest instrument, all the time. This gives a very subtle and homogenous sound and is very different to the more typical use of compression with higher ratios and higher thresholds, which only affects the loud bits and for only some of the time.



Using this low‑threshold level, very gentle compression technique you can often squeeze as much as 8dB of gain reduction without the material sounding squashed at all. Adjust the attack and release times to suit the track — slower rather than faster is usually the right way to go for smooth level control — and then crank up the make‑up gain to raise the level close to 0dBFS.



The track will now sound significantly louder than it did, but there will still be spiky transients poking up above the main body of the waveform, and these are now restricting the total volume you can achieve. So the next process is to shave off those brief transients with a fast‑acting limiter and then wind up the make‑up gain again (unless your limiter does that automatically, as many do) to give another 2‑4dB of level increase.



By using this simple approach of a low‑threshold, low‑ratio compressor followed by a good limiter, you should find the material is substantially louder than the original mix track, but still without sounding overly compressed. However, this is obviously an artistic judgement call that only you can make: how much 'squash' will you accept for a louder‑sounding track? Sometimes you can only squeeze a few decibels before it starts to sound damaged, and sometimes you can manage 10dB without obvious problems.
  

NEW! Jordan McClung (New Age Music) Website




Take a look at Jordan McClung (New Age Music) new website!


Check out his music and join his Email list.  There are videos, his biography, photo gallery, stores and more sites available.  Join his Facebook page's