=561= Word: Live Sound

People around me know that I have been saying that I hate live sound. HAHA. Ok to clarify, I don’t exactly hate it, I just don’t like how imperfect it sounds.

However, live sound does keep me on my feet. Without the luxury of time and expensive plugins, I have to watch a lot of things. When you are not in a studio, you cannot control how someone points his mic to his mouth. Even after teaching and reminding them to hold their microphone properly, most people don’t correct their bad habits and fall right back into it. 

I was really working with what I have. I tried compressing everything to kinda replicate the mastering process of audio mixing. Somehow or another, it just doesn’t seem to work for live sound.

HAHA! There is something about seeing the person live in person that makes the sound a bit different. My live mix will definitely not be usable for studio stuff. However, my studio stuff does not work for live either. It doesn’t sound natural when everything is compressed like that. The mix needed to breathe.

However, because of that, my mix had to change on the fly too. I must have shifted more faders today than I ever had. Therefore, routing signal and customising the board to my preference was VERY helpful. I set up DCA groups, User Defined Keys, Custom Faders, effects return etc etc. All to my liking. I wanted to try an Amp simulation effect today, however, the guitar sound I had was just too noisy. I couldn’t use it.

I approached live sound in a very studio manner. I zeroed the board. Have one person sing, set gain, do EQ to solve problems, have them tell me what they want on the monitors. Then once everyone was done and they were rehearsing, off house, go on stage with the Ipad to listen to each monitor mix and edit accordingly. Put the speaker to where they should be. Mix for them without the house so that their monitor mix will be accurate. Then, once everything is settled, do you go back to the board and start mixing.

Set custom faders for the inputs that you are using. Today I went even further, separating faders 1-8 to be voices and faders 9-16 to be the band. Then, set DCAs, one for vocals and another for band. This will ensure that you will have quick control for the band, for in cases when the emcees comes up.

Then set another custom fader bank for the output, put DCA and all the effects returns in that bank. Now you won’t have to flip to any other pages to mix.

I will also set user defined keys beforehand. 1-4 are always my sends on faders for the monitors. 5-8 are my effects sends on faders. 15 is home button, 16 is clear cue. 13 is tap tempo for any delay I use.

I have set delay a bit different from before. I used to put my return at 0 and control my send from sends on faders with my user defined keys. Now, I put the send at 0 and control the return, which is rightfully the way to do things. Then I put both send and return in my output custom fader bank. Then I will control the send. Switching it on only for certain parts for artistic flair.

Overall, I was quite pleased with my mix today. Though not perfect of course, but it was really the best I could do in live sound. Studio is trying to get the sound consistent throughout so that you don’t have to do any automation. Live sound mixing is practically faders only. Of course I still do compress and all, but compressing too much is going to make the sound a bit dull. No life you know. So yeah. Trying certain stuff out. Can’t wait to hear my recording, good to always learn from mistakes!

-Kelvin-

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=560= Word: The Garage Door

I just finished watching the episode “The Garage Door” from Freaks and Geeks.

Man. Does it sting the senses.

The thing about Freaks and Geeks is that the main characters don’t necessarily have a good ending after every episode. It is never a, I choose something wrong then I will learn to choose the right in the end.

They pick the wrong choice and the story continues. It hurts seeing them not doing the thing that you want them to do. Man, it is very scary.

They choose to go home and not accompany Neal. Man, poor Neal. Such great acting though.

Kudos.

-Kelvin-

=558= Word: Let Me Pick The Teams

I DIDN'T DO I TO BE FUNNY.
YEAH? SO YOU DID IT TO, UH, TO WHAT? TO BE EDUCATIONAL? IT'S NOT FAIR.
OK, YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND.
IT'S NOT LIKE ANYONE FORGETS WHO GETS PICKED LAST.
I'VE ALWAYS BEEN PICKED LAST.
EVERYONE KNOWS.
GIRLS KNOW.
AND THE THING IS, I MIGHT NOT BE BAD.
I NEVER GET BETTER BECAUSE I'M NEVER GIVEN THE CHANCE.
BUT I COULD BE GOOD.
YOU KNOW, I MEAN, I KNOW I COULD BE GOOD.
BUT IT'S NOT MY FAUL YOU GET PICKED LAST.
YES, IT IS.
I MEAN, YOU'VE GO ALL THE POWER.
YOU COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING.
AND HOW WOULD I DO THAT? SIMPLE.
LET ME PICK THE TEAMS.

JEAN, IS THE GROCERY STORE OUT OF NORMAL FOOD? IS THAT THE PROBLEM? THIS IS NORMAL FOOD.
NO.
NORMAL FOOD IS POT ROAST.
NORMAL FOOD IS MEAT LOAF.
IT IS DEAD ANIMAL, AND IT IS NOT ON FIRE.
NO! NO! NO, NO! MAYBE SOME OF US ARE UP FOR SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT AROUND HERE.
DON'T YOU WANNA LIVE LIFE, HAROLD? OR MAYBE YOU'VE JUST TURNED INTO A MEAN OLD MAN.
[SOBBING] DON'T YOU RUN AWAY FROM ME! WHAT'S WRONG WITH US, HAROLD? WHAT'S HAPPENED TO US? WE NEED CHANGE, DON'T WE? THINGS NEED TO CHANGE.
I DON'T WANT US TO JUST BE ROBOTS.
WE ARE NOT ROBOTS, AND THINGS DO NO NEED TO CHANGE.
I LIKE HOW THINGS ARE.
I LIKE EATING THE SAME THINGS.
AND YOU KNOW WHY? BECAUSE THOSE ARE THE THGS I LIKE.
I LIKE CHICKEN, AND I LIKE POT ROAST.
AND THAT'S HOW I FEEL ABOUT YOU, JEAN.
OH, PLEASE.
YOU LIKE ME LIKE YOU LIKE A POT ROAST? I LOVE POT ROAST! GOD, YOU JUS DON'T GET IT, DO YOU?! I GIVE UP! I QUIT! IS THAT RIGHT? YES! YOU DON' APPRECIATE ME.
MAYBE I'LL GO BACK TO SCHOOL.
WHAT ABOUT THAT? YOU THINK I DON'T APPRECIATE YOU? WELL, I DO.
EVERYTHING I DO, I DO TO SERVE YOU.
I THINK OF YOU WHEN I'M STOCKING FISHING POLES, AND I THINK OF YOU WHEN I'M ANSWERING QUESTIONS ABOU CROSS-COUNTRY SKI WAX.
MY WHOLE LIFE IS ABOUT SERVING YOU.
AND I LOVE YOU, JEAN.
THANK YOU.

=557= Reflections: Less Is More

Musicians has this phrase that everyone says, “Less is more.”

What this means is that sometimes when you don’t play certain notes, it may actually help serve the music.

Today I learned another fact about the statement, “less is more.”

I wanted to get the album all mixed to my liking you see. I was left with 4 songs to mix. So I decided to mix the song with the least channels, “Here Because of you.”

It only had 1 Lead Vocal, 1 backup, (used for delay) 1 stereo piano and 1 stereo pad.

4 channels, probably really easy to mix right? Well, to some extend yes, I only have four channels to balance. However, because I only had 4 channels. I needed make sure that each channel is perfect.

Being my perfectionist self, I really wanted to modernise the sound of the song. Adding a modern piano, adding modern pads to the sound. And the magic of MIDI was that what was played 8 years ago could sound totally different when I changed the patch.

The stereo piano was using the mini grand plugin. So I decided, I wanted a newer and nicer piano, so I used the kontakt’ Alicia Keys. The funny thing about this piano sound was that it is was sampled with Alicia Keys’ own piano, so even all the flaws that came with the piano was sampled. You can hear the squeaking of the piano and all. Very cool.

Then for the stereo pad, it was using the Xpand2 plugin, I replaced it with the very new analog strings that we just purchased for the new album. It was so much fun to add in the new sounds. There were so many options. Man. The only draw back was that the recorded MIDI Xpand2  actually had some automation recorded from the playing. So like the blending of the. Sounds and all were all gone. 

It was very hard to choose the right sound. There were so many. I could really made the song almost EDM-ish with the type of patches I had.

Then, I discovered EXHALE. WHOO. Siao cool. It is this voice simulation thingy. Kinda like those choir pads, but way cooler and more fun. I chose the Merfolk patch but tweaked the sound a bit because the high artifacts were interesting but too much.

With very little instruments, it is very hard to hide flaws and like mixing with balance in mind. I had to consider things like should I pan this here? Should I add a plugin to make the mono channel stereo?

I found it harder to mix for this song than a lot of the other songs because of the sheer amount of options I had with the MIDI library there. It was a lot of fun of course, but it was quite draining.

Finding the right patch. Then I needed to find the right patch that goes well with the other patch. Man I must have done so much experimenting man, once I was done with the song, I didn’t even want to mix. HAHA.

Less channels = More options = harder to mix. HAHA, less channels is more work.

Nevertheless, I did it, hopefully it sounds half decent.

I even duplicated a channel then I transposed up one octave to make the sound a bit different and have it come in only in the chorus. Pretty nice! 🙂 HAHA! 

Very hard song to mix because it had very few channels.

Then came mastering. With bass, the mastering process is straightforward. All I need is more or less a straight line until it dips at about 8-10k. However, without Bass, it is very hard to estimate or learn what I need to do just by looking at the analyser. 

Haha, and I learned the difference in file formats.

I have been listening to the AAC version of the old files. Now that I ripped out the Apple lossless file, man, the mixing and all were actually very good. Some of which I just don’t think that my version is better. Mine may be clearer in essence, but the earlier versions of the songs were really good. Like legit good. I got rather discouraged.

Oh well, I just hope that my versions will be half decent compared to its’ predecessors. Modernising the old may not make it better, but yeah, just want it to sound good! 🙂

Loving my new dog plushie! 🙂 Thank you! 

-Kelvin-

=556= Thanksgiving: Mei

Hahaha, as I am writing, man, I am just so touched by my new Mei. HAHAHA.

I guess before I share this platform with her, I shall just record down my thanksgiving for her.

She is just so sweet lah. HAHA. I melt Sia. Never had such a sweet younger Sister, man, just so nice. HAHAHA.

So cute Sia. Hope I have some time one day to go buy a turtle for her! 🙂

I dunno when you will read this lah Mei, just know that I appreciate you a lot! 🙂

-Kelvin-

=555= Word: Overworked

Well, I think I can finally say, I am overworked and I am tired. These few days, man was just days of toil and I just got SOOO tired.

I am a chronic hard and over worker. Even my own parents think that I am crazy. Going back to work on my off day. Etc etc. Honestly, man, after all of this, I am really overworked and the consequences are catching up to me.

I was so tired when I knocked off from work that I just couldn’t keep my eyes open on the train.

Rest is a discipline, I really need to learn how to rest. -sigh- Kelvin let’s take care of yourself for a moment shall we?

Go to cell for community.

Practice drums.

Read a book.

Exercise when you get better from your cough.

Meet people to have a nice chat.

Come on Kelvin, stop killing yourself with what you want to do.

-Kelvin-