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.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer NAMM: Alesis Multimix 8 Line & Pro Track

Epic Heroes Academy Interviews Jordan on his anniversaary album "No Limit to the Skies"

An interview with Jordan on his release of the 20 year Anniversary Special Edition of album single “No Limit to the Skies”.

interviews Jordan about his 20 year anniversary music album release of “No Limit to the Skies”.

Epic Heroes Academy interviews Jordan on his latest album single release: the 20 year Anniversary Special Edition of album single “No Limit to the Skies”, video game music shorts.

                    Interview with Jordan

So 20 year anniversary, I thought the “Solace” album was your first release?

The “Solace” album was my first official release. I have done a couple of album singles in the past that were not released to the public. “No Limit to the Skies” was officially my first single. At the time I was a teenager working for a video game company that needed some music pieces composed for an air combat simulation game. The music I composed for that game was not used for that project. They became a collection of music that ended up being shelved. I later added them as an album single that I thought I could use on other projects and never seemed to get there with them. I had other projects that demanded more of my time.

Why did it take you so long in releasing the album?

I worked in “live” sound for a number of years and did some post production work on a number of other projects and assignments over the years and didn't make time for it.

What was it like to working on the game project at the time as a teenager?

It was a bit overwhelming at the time. I was still young as a composer working on quite a big project. I guess you would call it my big break which I was grateful for. I was still learning concepts and theories and now working with deadlines and wondering how to apply and incorporate concepts into some of the animation sequences. This was an air combat simulator experience on a new type of game system console. Still learning things as I went along. I wasn't sure if I was going to get the ideas I needed to make the headway that was intended. It took some work and then the music came. Even with today's technology, music inspiration still comes the old fashioned way.

I know I already asked this previously, what brought you back to composing music?

I don't think I really left; I was just delayed for a while. I have always enjoyed composing music. Music is my passion, it has been a number of years composing when I could between projects and making tunes at times, but it was never far from my thoughts even with all the distractions between now and then. I love composing, I always have... sometimes I wondered how I was even going to create some of these themes, but they came.

What was it like to work on a project that was animated or had a picture to music?

Some of the gaming concepts were new at the time with 3D rendering and not your normal 2D games. I actually enjoy doing music for picture or film. At the time it was a new experience, I had melodies that I would imagine, but would leave it for the listener to put to the music. I think that still applies even now. I hope even though the music was intended for one thing, does not mean it can't have another meaning or be interpreted differently. I enjoy putting timelessness in my music. It may have been said before by those who compose music in the film industry, that half the work is done when there is a picture to reference by, all it needed was some music to bring out the picture. I would feel the same way.


“No Limit to the Skies” is more like an album single. Why is shorter than the others?

I originally wrote these tunes for the game at the time and they were not intended to be a full album. I really wanted to release this album for those who couldn't afford to pay for the full album price. These are original concepts. Some of the music concepts went on the “Solace” and “In Motion” albums and were started from here. I have had fans ask when more music was coming, I guess this is a way of tiding them over until the next album.

I understand you have another album scheduled in 2016. Why so far out?

Well, it is still kind of hush-hush... Of course, the reason for the longer time period is that composing takes a lot of time. This is going to be a big project. It is scheduled for 2016; I just hope that is going to be enough time to meet the deadline. There will be more to come on that project at another time.



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Q. What can I do to make my mixes sound more like commercial records?

I'm producing my own music, but I want it to sound as professional as possible. I'm sure that there must be certain tools that home studio owners can use to help them match their mixes and recordings with commercial ones. Do you have any advice for me on the best way to go?


A reference CD compilation of commercial tracks whose production qualities you admire can be a useful tool for helping to ensure high standards in your own mixes.

A reference CD compilation of commercial tracks whose production qualities you admire can be a useful tool for helping to ensure high standards in your own mixes. A reference CD compilation of commercial tracks whose production qualities you admire can be a useful tool for helping to ensure high standards in your own mixes.



Greg Dillon, via email



SOS contributor Tom Flint replies: One of the best things you can do is create your own reference compilation so that you have something with which to compare your own work and production decisions. All of us, of course, can think of songs or pieces of music that we love because they sound a certain way. Making a reference compilation is really just a matter of collecting some of those tracks together and putting them onto a format that can be played on a variety of music systems. At this point, I still think the CD-R is the best media choice.



In general, the bigger the variety of tracks, the better, although if you were concentrating on producing a very particular genre of music it might be worth creating another dedicated compilation comprising tracks just from within that genre. There may also be music that is not particularly your cup of tea but still has admirable production qualities, and this is worth including too, as long as you can bear to listen to it! The most important thing is to select tracks that have something about them that seems to work particularly well, and make sure that each one reveals something its compilation that others on the collection do not. There would be no point, for example, in including endless variations of a particularly pleasing type of bass sound; one or two examples should suffice.



The first thing a well-considered compilation will reveal is that there really is no such thing as the perfect sound. Some productions seem to pack every frequency with noise, while others are relatively sparse. There are countless other contrasts too and I am continually amazed at how much productions can vary, and yet still sound professional, polished and satisfying.



Ideally, tracks should be taken from CDs, tapes and vinyl rather than MP3s, for quality reasons, but be sure to respect the music owners' copyrights by only creating the reference CD-R from your own purchases and not distributing the end result to others.



Ethics, good practice and legalities aside, it is then a matter of using the reference material properly. Get to know your chosen tracks intimately by playing them everywhere you can. In the car, for instance, the body of some productions is lost under the drone of the engine, while others seem to fare quite well. It soon becomes apparent which kind of sounds are important, and which are merely 'fairy dust', only appreciable to those with superior hi-fi systems and ideal listening environments. Not every production sounds great in every situation, although there are usually one or two gems that seem to sound fantastic whatever the limitations of the listening environment or playback system.



Of course, the compilation can be a constantly evolving thing. Some favourite tracks might turn out to be of little use as reference material and should be replaced with others that have very specific characteristics. It might even be worth creating a separate 'bad production' compilation, just as a reminder of what you want to avoid doing to your own music.



Take the time to run the tracks through a narrow-band graphic EQ with spectrum analyser and then alter the level of the bands to see which ones have the most effect. This will help explain why certain mixes work, and where the important energy is centred.



One of the situations in which the reference CD is of great use is in the mastering studio. Mastering engineers are often keen to hear examples of what you want and can bear those examples in mind while processing a mix.



It's also a good idea to take your CD of reference material to other studios when you'll be making important decisions based on the output of unfamiliar gear. If you know how your tracks usually sound, something that is too prominent or lacking will be immediately obvious.



Most of all, though, the reference CD will keep you on the straight and narrow, particularly if you've been working on something for a long time. In such circumstances, the reference tracks should act like a user reset button for your ears.



For more on compiling a reference CD, see the SOS articles at /sos/sep03/articles/testcd.htm and /sos/sep08/articles/referencecd.htm.  

Summer NAMM: Arsenal Audio

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Q. Can I use the front and rear sides of a Blumlein array simultaneously?

Most of the recording I do involves tracking several musicians playing together in a room. I'd like to use a stereo pair to capture the overall picture, as well as close miking, but often the musicians arrange themselves in such a way that X-Y or A-B rigs won't work. I've been wondering about using a Blumlein-crossed figure-of-eight pair placed between the drummer and the rest of the group, in such a way that the front of the array captures the drum kit and the rear captures the other musicians. In other words, is Blumlein strictly restricted to the 90-degree acceptance angle in front, or is it OK to use the 90-degree space behind the array too? And if so, should I reverse the polarity of any other mics on that side?
You actually have little choice over whether to use the rear of your mics in a Blumlein array, as the mics will always capture ambient noise to the rear of the setup. This can be quite useful in certain circumstances, such as radio drama, for example, in which the setup allows the actors to be positioned less rigidly but still be picked up by the mics.



You actually have little choice over whether to use the rear of your mics in a Blumlein array, as the mics will always capture ambient noise to the rear of the setup. This can be quite useful in certain circumstances, such as radio drama, for example, in which the setup allows the actors to be positioned less rigidly but still be picked up by the mics.You actually have little choice over whether to use the rear of your mics in a Blumlein array, as the mics will always capture ambient noise to the rear of the setup. This can be quite useful in certain circumstances, such as radio drama, for example, in which the setup allows the actors to be positioned less rigidly but still be picked up by the mics.



Simon Earle, via email



SOS Technical Editor Hugh Robjohns replies: The short answer is yes, it's perfectly OK to use the rear pick-up region, and yes, you might need to reverse the polarity of spot mics covering sources on the rear of the Blumlein array.



The slightly longer answer is that you actually have no choice in the matter; the rear side of a Blumlein array is captured anyway, so you might as well make use of it. In an orchestral recording, for example, it will be capturing the room ambience and audience (which will make it sound rather more open than might be expected). In radio drama, both sides of a Blumlein array are often used to great effect, as the technique allows the actors to face each other across the mic for good eye-contact, while still being able to move freely within their own 'stereo space'.



In your situation, it's perfectly acceptable to arrange the musicians to use both front and rear 90-degree stereo-recording angles, using relative distances from the mics to help achieve the appropriate balance. In radio drama, the studio floor is often marked up with tape to identify the edges of the 90-degree pickup areas, with additional marks to show the desired positions for each performer, so they don't wander away and upset the optimum balance.



There are two things to beware of. Firstly, don't let any real sound sources move around to the sides of the Blumlein pair, because they will then be out of phase in the stereo image. Secondly, choose your figure-of-eight mics carefully, as many are designed with strong tonal differences between front and back. That may be quite useful in your situation, but can cause significant issues in others. Finally, if you're planning to close-mic sources to supplement their contributions to the main pair balance, sources on the rear of the mic will be captured with an inverted polarity relative to those on the front, as you say.



Consequently, you will probably need to flip the polarity of those close mics in the mix to avoid phase cancellation issues, depending, to a degree, on the distance between the close mics and Blumlein pair, the nature of the source, and the level of the spot-mic contribution. I'd start with the rear-side close mics flipped in polarity, and check each one as you build the mix, to see what works best.  

Summer NAMM: Telefunken M-80

Q. Which should I check first: monitors or FOH?

I'm responsible for live sound at a lot of small shows where there isn't the budget for a separate monitor desk or engineer. In this situation, I've seen engineers handle things in different ways. Some concentrate on getting the sound right on stage first before bringing up the front-of-house speakers. Some make sure the sound out front is right and only then turn up the aux sends on any instruments that the band are struggling to hear. Others go through, instrument by instrument and set levels for both FOH and monitors at the same time. What are the pros and cons of each approach, and which would you recommend?
Sound engineers can differ over whether to set up stage monitoring or the front-of-house sound first. Our contributor likes to get a rough FOH mix done and then move onto the wedges, leaving fine-tuning until the band are on stage.



Sound engineers can differ over whether to set up stage monitoring or the front-of-house sound first. Our contributor likes to get a rough FOH mix done and then move onto the wedges, leaving fine-tuning until the band are on stage.Sound engineers can differ over whether to set up stage monitoring or the front-of-house sound first. Our contributor likes to get a rough FOH mix done and then move onto the wedges, leaving fine-tuning until the band are on stage.



Lee Entwistle, via email



SOS contributor Jon Burton replies: This is a very common situation and one I've come across many times. When I'm doing monitors from the same desk as the house sound, I always try to use a Y-split cable on the lead vocals. If there are enough channels this means you can split signal across two channels, one dedicated to the monitors and one to the FOH. This has the advantage that you can set and leave the monitor channel optimised for the stage sound, whilst having an FOH channel that you can equalise and compress during the show, knowing that it is not adversely affecting the sound on stage. Even if I can't do this, I always create a rough front-of-house sound first. I set the gain for both channels, then set the EQ flat on the desk, but with the high-pass filter in, if there is one. I will then concentrate on checking all the wedges on stage. If there are any equalisers on the monitor sends, I usually flatten these. I then check each monitor in turn, speaking normally through the mic, using the same desk channel and microphone for each monitor. By doing this I can check that each speaker is working correctly. If they are not, which is not unusual, I'll try to fix them, checking connections and drivers, for example, and, failing that, move the best-sounding ones into the most crucial positions!



If there are graphic EQs, I try not to do too much, as I prefer them to look like smiley faces rather than cross-sections of the Himalayas. If you hack away with a graphic, you'll usually start causing more problems than you're solving. If there are no outboard equalisers, I'll EQ the channel, but only as a last resort.



Having got all the wedges working and sounding OK, I'll then get all the vocal microphones up in their respective wedges. Once I'm happy that vocals sound good on stage, I'll start soundchecking the other channels.



I always leave the vocal microphones open but dipped a bit during the soundcheck, as they will be on during the show and will contribute a lot to the overall sound coming from the stage, adding high-end spill to the drums and other instruments.



After I have checked the vocals, I like to continue with drums, getting the drummer to play a simple beat on kick, snare and hi-hat. I prefer to do all three at the same time, as this way the drummer tends to play more naturally, like he or she would in a show, rather than repetitively hitting a drum, which is monotonous for all — and unrepresentative. Checking all the instruments one by one, I then usually leave the FOH master faders at half volume while the band play a song. During this time, I'll work on the monitors for them, maybe adding keys or kick drum. I always dip the FOH, otherwise the sound of the loud PA in an empty room will drown the stage. If you do leave the PA system at a higher level, you enter into an upward spiral of volume where everybody is competing to hear. I usually know when all the channels sound good and I have a rough balance; the time for fine-tuning will be when the room is full and the first chord is struck!



Before the performance, time is always against you, and I prefer to get the stage sound right as fast as possible, usually before the band arrive. Soundchecking monitors is always easier on a quiet stage without musicians tuning and checking their instruments. Checking FOH is a lot easier, as you can just don a pair of headphones and check your channels, returns and inserts. So I would always prioritise and make sure the monitors are sorted before checking the band.



For more advice see the article 'Effective Soundcheck' in SOS July 2012 (/sos/jul12/articles/soundchecking.htm) for advice from some top live engineers!