[dropcap1]Q[/dropcap1]“Do you use any outboard gear?”
[dropcap1]A[/dropcap1]I’ve been working completely ITB the past few years for the sake of convenience. But I’ve recently started getting back to using some outboard gear. Mainly SPL Vitalizer, my old Roland S-760 Sampler and a Korg Prophecy synth. I feel it brings a new dimension to my music which was lost somewhere along the way.
I also recently got myself a Presonus Faderport which is great when it works. It’s a bit of a hassle with drivers – I’ve had to reinstall them several times and Logic still keeps losing the unit sometimes. It’s a BIG shame it comes down to crappy software intergration as I love the product itself.
[dropcap1]Q[/dropcap1]“Any favorite/goto techniques you could share?”
[dropcap1]A[/dropcap1]I share them here on the website all the time so have a look at the archives. To point out some of my personal favourites:
Parallel compression – I do it a lot and with many different things. That’s something everyone should get a grip of I think.
Subtractive EQ – another cornerstone technique
Compressing reverbs – this one is a bit more creative and can give you some very interesting results.
These are all techniques I like to use personally. In general I’ll just say it’s all about experimenting though. Do that a lot. Through that you will find what works for you.
[dropcap1]Q[/dropcap1]“Favourite filter plugins?”
[dropcap1]A[/dropcap1]Yes!! There are some really nice free ones out there. I will be writing about some of these in more detail in upcoming articles. For now, check these out:
[dropcap1]Q[/dropcap1]“Are Sennheiser HD 25-1 II’s a good choice for studio headphones?”
[dropcap1]A[/dropcap1]This question comes up a LOT.
The answer is…
They are great headphones (I use them for DJng) but not really ideal for studio work.
They are designed for monitoring sound in fair enough quality in loud enviroments, and at that they’re very good. They are widely used by airline pilots, DJ’s, sound technicians, etc… Good build as well, but easily start hurting my ears in longer sessions as they push against the head quite firmly.
For production the main problem is that they are what you call “closed end headphones”. This is to keep outside sound from intervening, but it puts big limitations on the internal acoustics of the headphone.
For production you should get open ended headphones. They won’t silence the outside world and they will leak some sound outside as well. But they will sound much better and are usually designed to be used in long sessions so they won’t start hurting your ears after half an hour.
I might add though that if you’re looking for good “all around” multi-use headphones then the Sennheiser HD 25-1 II‘s are definitely not a bad choice. But if you need great headphones for studio work especially, there are much better options around for the same price.
[dropcap1]Q[/dropcap1]“Is it better to use a pitch-shifter plug-in rather than creating a sampler instrument for a sample and pitching it up in the sampler? Or is it totally case by case?”
[dropcap1]A[/dropcap1]It depends on the case. A pitch shifter does what the name implies – it changes the pitch without affecting the length of the sample. But it often tends to sound worse than pitching in a sampler.
The pitching effect in samplers is achieved by a different mechanism. In a sampler, when you change the pitch of a sound, it simply gets played faster or slower. This results in better quality pitching effect, but it also changes the timing of the sample.
Pitching in a sampler tends to retain the quality of the sound better, where as pitch shifter plugins easily start to degrade the sound (sometimes this effect can be desirable though).
At the same time, pitching in a sampler messes with the timing of the sample, where as using a pitch shifter you avoid that problem.
That’s it for this round… Thanks again for the questions and keep sending them for the next one.
Missed the last one? Here is the link: Readers Questions – January 2012