How do you noize? (Tips&Tricks)

During the test phase of the new Denise plugin called Noize 2, I ended up discovering how creative producing with noise samples can be.
I literally changed the way I approach sonic textures and frequencies.
Old tricks for sure, but sometimes having a new tool – like for example a plugin which lets you apply noise in such an adaptive and tweakable way may change completely your workflow. Makes you feel like a newbie again 🙂

One of the best small tricks I found lately is with a crowd sample for “choir” sections.
Check it out:

I’ve gathered a few more ideas here, for drums, synths, check them all out in the site player. And if you have any suggestions, I’m waiting for them in the comments or wherever!



Berlin Sounds – The day we went sampling the city.

For the release of Noize 2, the new noise generating plugin which has a *load sample* feature, Cecil, Joe, Rob from Denise and I went around our favorite spots in Berlin to record its sounds and noises and the video maker Diego Delgado documented it.
We’ve created Berlin Sounds, a pack of 39 samples recorded in 16 locations.

The color of IGS Tubecore 3U (Blind Test)

I’ve been working a lot with my IGS Tubecore Mastering Edition lately and I’ve been so satisfied I’ve been almost strapping it on every master bus, on every production. I love the sound of it and the features dry/wet and mid/side really make it a game changer. It’s such a WARM piece of gear that my cat also loves to sleep upon it.

I’ve wanted to investigate a little deeper on the actual color that it gives the instruments, so I made a test.

1) I’ve recorded a 16bar piece of metal song with 9 tracks:

• Drums
• Bass / Bass Dist
• Guitars / Double Gtrs
• Vocals / Add Vocals
• Reverb/Fx for Vocals

2) I’ve mixed roughly the song

3) I’ve “reamped” each single track thru the Tubecore with no gain reduction. Gain at 13, output at 9.5
That’s a small amount of gain, btw. Halfway the total gain available on this monster. We’re not going for massive distructive gain differences.

4) I’ve re-reamped each already reamped track thru the Tubecore again, this time with gain at 11, output at 9.5

5) I’ve matched each reamped and 2x reamped track’s RMS to the originals

6) I’ve mastered the 3 versions (1st version with no tubecore, second with tubecore on each track, second with 2x tubecore on each track) and bounced the 3 wave files  A, H, Z.

7) I’ve strapped an additional tubecore with compression on (30att, 0.1rel, 1db GR) on each of these 3 wave files, generating 3 more versions (1: no mixbus comp, 2: mixbus comp) This one’s just a slight difference btw.

My aim here is to listen purely to the color of the unit itself, of the tube gain.
So the result are 6 files, where we have 3 letters and 2 numbers.
Each letter corresponds one of the 3 versions (dry / 1x TC / 2x TC) while the numbers will be 1: with no additional tubecore bus compressor, 2: with additional tubecore bus compression.

Here they are.
What’s your favorite?

A1


A2 (same take as A1 + additional Tubecore on the master bus, 1db GR)


H1


H2 (same take as H1 + additional Tubecore on the master bus, 1db GR)


Z1


Z2 (same take as Z1 + additional Tubecore on the master bus, 1db GR)

I’ll unveil the results next week or so!

Enrico.


Denise / Mixing with pink noise + tips and tricks

Hi y’all nerdy music lovers! 
I’m really happy I’ve recently joined the Denise team.
They are developing amazing plugins and they have a great vision.
In fact, they’ve just released their new noize plugin which is the result of a contest whose winner is JNB, who suggested an adaptive noise plugin.
I’ve been lucky to get my copy in advance and I’m already using it in several productions which are going on at the mo.
And because it’s such a creative tool to experiment with, we thought it would be cool to come up with a blog post with some tips and tricks and a tutorial on pink noise mixing, which has become quite a hot topic lately.

Don’t miss it, and send your suggestions/ opinions!
Read it here: https://www.denise.io/blog/2018/10/pink-noise-mixing-explained-in-1-minute-with-pro-tips

Also, in the Noize plugin page you can hear how the adapt feature works on an exclusive preview of Kendra Black’s new single which I’m working on!

The colors of analog compressors. (SSL vs 1176 vs VariMu)

Analog compressors are mythological beasts.

Since the first radios started using limiters to raise the volume of the broadcasted music, they have been implemented in studio and some models have become legendary for how they very uniquely color the sound. 
As a result, nowadays you can buy all kind of clones and plugin emulations and each brand swears by the perfect imitation of the original vibe of those historical units.
Since I’ve been producing music, I’ve become more and more passionate about some of them so I ended up with my small but very precious collection of analog compressors.
I’ve recently started to endorse IGS Audio‘s Tubecore 3U Mastering Edition Vari-Mu compressor, which adds to my stereo Hairball 1176 Rev. D Fet limiter, my modded G SLL (project by Gyraf Audio) and more analog beauties.

Amazingly fat mastering vari-mu all tube all analog compressor
(Bellezebu loves its “warmth” too!)

Analog compressors: The test!

I’ve tested them next to their plugin emulations to understand better how each model really affects the sound during my mixing sessions, and to make it clearer how each emulation/clone really behaves.

Here are the protagonists of my comparison test:

UREI 1176 models
• 2x 1176 Hairball Rev D (Linked stereo)
• Slate FG 116
• Waves CLA 76 (Blacky)
• Ik Multimedia Black 76
SSL Bus Compressor models
• Custom built G-SSL (w/Sidechain filter mod)
• Slate VBC FG-Grey
• Waves SSL G Comp
 Vari-Mu models
• IGS Tubecore 3U ME
• Slate VBC Fg-Mu
• Waves Puigchild 670

Analog bus compressor
Custom made G • SSL

Some technical stuff before going to listen to the files
orHow the test was done

Analog compressors
My stereo 1176’s

I’ve used a stereo stem of drums to drive the compressors and I’ve accurately matched both input and output levels among the same models, same thing for the gain reduction.
You can imagine how that’s a not-so-easy task to do, for the reason that each unit has a different monitoring & GR philosophy, but still I’ve been pretty meticulous.

That said, this test doesn’t want to be – at all – a scientific test for comparing noise levels, exact RMS/ Peak levels, etc.
The reason why I’ve done it, instead, is because I wanted to capture to the different coloration that each compressor is capable of, during tracking/mixing, confronting hardware vs software, and that’s why the drums have been compressed twice.
Therefore the files feature a first round of compression and a second round of compression starting at 0.31 (where the first round is sent again into the compressors).

 

I’ve connected everything with balanced cables and the AD/DA converters are those of my Yamaha MR816x interface.
Ps: The 1176’s and SSL’s have been fed 4db input gain more than the Vari-Mu’s because I wanted to keep the studio routing/settings of the production I’m now working on, but still the i/o gain and GR are matched between sw/hw.

The settings
1176 compression

Attack: 11 o’clock
Release: Fastest
Ratio: 20

 SSL compression

Attack: 10
Release: .1
Ratio: 4

 Vari-Mu compression

Attack: 0,3 
Release 0,3 
Input Gain: 6db

Let’s listen 
(0:00 – 0:31 – First round of compression)
(0:31 – end – Double compression)

Have you made up your mind? Which one is your favorite? I have my preferences…

Download the files (right click – save as):

Dry :

1176s

Hairball:
IK:
Slate:
Waves:

SSL

GSSL:
Slate:
Waves:

Vari-Mu

IGS:
Slate:
Waves:

 

Juka: Cinematic, lo-fi, dark songwriting from Denmark.

2018 very rich of collabs and productions.
I’m proud to announce my collaboration as producer with Juka, talented Danish artist based in Berlin.

The new single “Stolen Moments” is going to be soon released with a video.
It’s been mixed @ Lullaby Rec. Studio (Berlin) by me and mastered by Pete Maher (London).

Follow here:

Who is our producer NREC?

Neumann, Neve, Saturation, Coffee and Emigration • Recording “Stealing Chameleons” by Kamikaze Test Pilots

I. The Migration

In November I came to Berlin with my beloved woman, and a good ol’ friend o’mine helped us drive all the way to this magic city and we settled in a tiny apartment in Ostkreuz in F’hain, bringing all our stuff like a convoy… We were carrying mostly instruments, preamps, compressors, amps and soundproofing material. Crazy. 

II. God **** the queen!

After a few days tho, actually, we flew to Oxfordshire (UK) where I reached the crazy English/Zimbabwean band Kamikaze Test Pilots to record and produce their album “Stealing Chameleons”, in the beautiful Henwood Studios, filled with beautiful vintage microphones and instruments and a pretty nice neve console. We recorded everything LIVE and LOUD.

III. Harder! Rougher!

One of the cool aspects of recording these guys is that they are not afraid to push it till it sounds rough and basically they like to enjoy being in the studio, so we ended up experimenting quite a bit.
We were basically not only agreeing but also hyped about wanting to try not to edit stuff too much, using as much acoustic sounds as we could, delivering as much as possible the raw energy of their playing.

So we got everything cabled up, a bunch of good mics such as cascade fatheads, neumann u87s, sm7s, md421, all straight into the neve preamps and started recording takes and takes, coffee upon coffee, blasphemy upon blasphemy we ended up having some cool stuff recorded and taped into a massive studer tape recorder, ready to be mixed in my home studio Lullaby Productions in Berlin and to be mastered by mastering wizard Pete Maher.

 

 Emigre’
Emigre’, one of the most beautiful and at the same time experimental tracks of this album, reflects completely this kind of laidback attitude to producing we shared… I ended up playing the accordion on this one, Valeria ended up singing la-la-la…, Ryan singing Bom Bom Bom, and the result is clearly something which goes far beyond the classic rock sound.

Kamikaze Test Pilots – Emigré

When you’re given new shoes they will shine
When you’re given good news you will shine
I know how nice it is
It’s all new, and that’s what it is

When they shout out “non grata!” you must smile
When they shout out nasty things you must smile
I know how hard it is
It’s all new, and that’s what it is

Do these guys rock? 

Cheers

VHS Magic, truth or fiction?

THE NOSTALGIA

Being born in 1985, I have lived my childhood pressing the FFW and REW buttons a lot.
Kids nowadays can’t realize what it means to actually wait for what you love as we used to back in the 90s… Listening to music was all about waiting for your radio station to play your favorite song, waiting for the cassette player to reach your favorite part of the instrumental, waiting for. 
That’s what we were used to before point-click streaming came out.
And not only our cassette and cd players involved this kind of approach, same story for TV and VHS.

As an advanced nerd kid, I used to read all the manuals and know how to program my VCR to record the cartoons/films/concerts I loved the most from TV to cassette, and I still remember the time I had to wait to rewind it all back and watch it again, or the number of problems coming from the overuse of the same VHS cassette.

Lately, while getting used to OSX, soundcloud, youtube, DAW, etc., I kinda found myself missing that feeling, so I decided I would buy a video cassette recorder.
I opened ebay kleineanzeigen and I bought one used for real cheap, something about 30€. Deal! It’s got RCA ins and outs, I took an old VHS tape I used to record stuff from TV to and got all this whole nostalgia thing started.

THE QUESTIONS

• Am I gonna get useful/musical tape saturation out of VHS?

• Am I gonna get back from VHS that kind of 90s vibe? That kind of          imperfect sound/ artifacts we were used to? 

• Why am I wondering such stuff?

Aside from the 3rd question, still left untouched and unanswered, I found my own answers to my doubts, by experimenting a little.

THE VHS EXPERIMENT

So, basically, what I did was:

• connect my SEG VCR 5351 (not the best Stereo VCR but who gives a f***?) to my Steinberg MR816x (unbal jack stereo out -> rca unbal stereo in / VHS / rca unbal stereo out – XLR stereo in)

• open cubase and control gain staging with sine-wave

• record a very simple multi-track loop made by:

bus 1: Roland Sh-101-ISH vst bassline
bus 2: Roland Juno-ISH vst arpeggio
bus 3 (drums): my Roland TR09 + TR 808 vst + kick sample
bus 4: Telecaster gtr line

• reamp the four stereo busses via VHS – this phase involves a lot of PLAY / REC / REW / PLAY / REC / SYNC BACK MATERIAL BY HAND 

• pass the whole mix thru VHS 2 times

• bounce out these versions:

– Total Digital (Mastered and Unmastered)
– VHS (Mastered and Unmastered) (gain -10db, boosted back by +/- 10db)
– VHS 2x (where VHS mix has been recorded again on VHS and back to DAW – Mastered and Unmastered) (gain -6db, boosted back by +/- 6db)

THE ANSWERS

VHS tape saturation. Do I like it? Is it useable? I loved it on Drums and bass, plus the overall mix sounds a lot warmer.
NOISE I did no accurate measuring but honestly I really expected a lot more noise problems while going out unbalanced at -10db and boosting back everything by 10db on the single instruments + 10 + 6 on VHS MIX 2x, plus I find it pleasing in a way.
ARTIFACTS/ 90s sound I think that in the 2x VHS mix the overuse starts giving an idea of that kind of “boiling” sound the VHS could deliver, tho the Cassette I used was too healthy to deliver interesting artifacts like glitchy sound/ ruined tape detuning.
• AM I GONNA DO IT AGAIN? Yes. I’m writing new vaporwaveish material and I bet it’s gonna kick asses when mastered thru VHS tape.

THE FILES

 

DIGITAL UNMASTERED (Digital Stereo Mix with no Added EQ, Comp, Limiting)

VHS UNMASTERED (Busses to VHS, Digital Stereo Mix to VHS, no Added EQ, Comp, Limiting)

VHS 2x UNMASTERED (Busses to VHS, Digital Stereo Mix to VHS twice, no Added EQ, Comp, Limiting)

DIGITAL MASTERED (Digital Stereo Mix with Added EQ, Comp, Limiting)

VHS MASTERED (Busses to VHS, Digital Stereo Mix to VHS, Added EQ, Comp, Limiting)

VHS 2x MASTERED (Busses to VHS, Digital Stereo Mix to VHS twice, Added EQ, Comp, Limiting)

AND YOU?

What’s your take on this whole nostalgia thing? Bullshit, magic, or another palette of colors? Any comments on this experiment is welcome!